January 8, 2015

Legislators weigh in their thoughts on the upcoming session

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly is set to kick off its 64th session Tuesday, Jan. 6. Legislators from the area were asked to give their thoughts on a variety of issues that will be presented when the assembly convenes.

Legislators were asked four questions: 1. What do you think are the most pressing issues facing North Dakota; 2. The state’s income from oil extraction is taking a hit with falling crude prices. How will that affect this session’s decision making?  3. Are there any topics you feel strongly about? 4. At the end of the session, what do you hope will have been accomplished?

Following are responses from legislators representing District 4

Rep. Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing North Dakota?

1) Funding for western North Dakota, including infrastructure, emergency services, medical services, law enforcement and schools. 2) Property tax reform for our North Dakota residents. 3) Water issues across the state 4) Addressing higher education and K-12 education including Pre K and early childhood development.

The state’s income from oil extraction is taking a hit with falling crude prices. How will that affect this session’s decision making?

You have to be concerned and conscious of the if’s. Current property tax relief, water projects and one-time funding projects are benefactors of higher oil prices. The second side effects include lower income tax collection, sales tax collection and jobs directly and indirectly tied to oil and gas development.

Are there any topics you feel strongly about?

The infringement on property rights and landowner issues in North Dakota at the expense of oil and gas development. Current funding for K-12 education and inequities for smaller schools. Property tax reform for North Dakota residents and small business owners.

At the end of the session, what do you hope will have been accomplished?

I hope we can find adequate funding for oil and gas producing counties, cities and schools. Further decrease the burden of property tax and make the initial investments that provide long-range planning for the future of the state.


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