Oil Tax Idea Hits Dead End

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A proposed state tax hike on thriving oil and gas operations, an increase backed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer, has hit a dead end.

Republicans controlling the Senate Taxation Committee tabled the proposal on Monday.

Senate Bill 258 would have raised taxes on oil once the price hit $80 a barrel. A tax increase on natural gas production was proposed, as well.

Proponents pitched the bill as partial repeal of a decade-old tax holiday granted for new oil and gas wells in Montana. Republican opponents rejected the plan as a scheme that would hamper development should energy prices rise.

Democrats wanted to earmark the new money for education.

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