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James MacPherson, Associated Press, Published January 20 2013

Minot lawmaker proposes two-year income tax break

BISMARCK – Taxes, guns, oil and abortion. Lawmakers will be considering some weighty issues as North Dakota’s 63rd legislative session enters its third week. Here’s a glimpse at what’s expected:

Income tax break

Don’t feel like filling out state tax forms for the next two years? Neither does Rep. Scott Louser.

The Minot Republican has proposed a bill that would give North Dakotans a break from paying state income tax this year and next.

Louser said it’s an attempt to decrease the tax burden on the citizens of oil-rich North Dakota. The measure would apply to individuals, estates and trusts.

Budget analysts say North Dakota’s coffers would take a more than $1 billion hit over the next two years if the bill becomes law. The proposal would reinstate the state income tax in 2015.

Stripper well exemptions

North Dakota lawmakers are revisiting a law that slashes taxes for low-producing oil wells to keep them pumping. But the law also has been applied to some gushers in North Dakota, costing the state a millions of dollars in revenue.

Stripper wells are broadly defined in North Dakota as those that produce fewer than 30 barrels of crude daily. But a 1980s-era law has a loophole that extends the tax break to wells that lie near the weaker wells but are productive thanks to advances in drilling technology. Attempts to close the loophole have been soundly defeated in the past three legislation sessions. Will it be a fourth?