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Pat Finken, Bismarck, Published February 21 2013

Letter: Democrats in ND Legislature reveal bias against business

Why have North Dakota Democrats become so anti- business? Take, for example, Sen. George Sinner’s, D-Fargo, recent op-ed in The Forum. He chafes at the idea that Republicans want to cut income taxes for business. He finds cutting taxes for out-of-state companies even more distasteful. It is business that has invested billions of dollars in our state and created thousands of good new jobs. Because of business, virtually every corner and industry in our state is thriving.

And the Republican proposal to cut income taxes for business by $25 million is modest compared to the more than $700 million in property and $100 million in personal income tax cuts Republicans are also proposing.

Sinner goes on to repeat the Democrat Party’s phony and politically motivated claim that Republicans are cutting oil taxes. The bill in question does cut the extraction tax by 2 percent on new wells drilled in 2017 and later, but the taxes paid on existing wells and any drilled in the next four years will not be affected.

More importantly, the bill also increases taxes on other Bakken and Three Forks wells by $600 million over the next 10 years and increases all oil taxes by $1 billion a year if oil prices drop significantly.

It is this kind of anti-business attitude that has gotten many other states such as California and Illinois in so much trouble. With business fleeing these states, they face state budget shortfalls, rising unemployment and falling wages.

Here in North Dakota, our leaders have worked hard to create a positive business climate. As a result, we have attracted major corporations like Microsoft to invest in our state and encouraged small business to grow and thrive. Our pro-business climate and attitude has led to more good jobs and rising wages, and North Dakota now has money to invest in schools, infrastructure, flood protection and property tax relief.

It is important that our elected officials like Sinner remember that it is business that creates the jobs that employ our residents and the tax revenues that pay for schools and roads. When business succeeds, we all win.

Finken, Bismarck, is a business owner and member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce board of directors.