As a Montanan, I know how important both the environment and the energy industry are to our state. However, when I learned about the oil and gas tax holiday that gives tax breaks for newly drilled wells in Montana, it became clear that oil and gas companies are exploiting the tax code while plundering our natural resources and damaging communities in Montana.
Taxes on drilling companies are important because they provide compensation for local communities, whose land is devalued by oil extraction. However, the oil and gas tax holiday allows drilling companies to pay only an 0.8% tax on their new drilling operations, instead of the normal 9.3% tax. In total, the state and counties have lost $192 million in revenue between 2012 and 2018 through this tax exemption.
While the economic “boom” of drilling is initially appealing for communities, the resulting “bust” is damaging in the long term. If this tax break is eliminated, a staggering $14 million per year could be allotted to increasing Montana’s investments in education, public services, and infrastructure. I support the interests of Montana’s communities, and that means standing against the oil and gas tax holiday.