Murphy’s Law 2021 #19 – Gas Tax, Ag Innovation, Trade Office

February 22, 2021

Today the House floor convincingly passed a 3 cent-per-gallon gas tax. What?!? You heard me. There had been whisperings of so much money coming for transportation infrastructure from Federal COVID funds that it might overcome the need to raise the $7.4 million per penny tax. The question as I see it is; Does one want to vote on what the state can do for ourselves and know the outcome or rely on rumors from Washington D.C.? It goes over to the Senate.
SB1475 was the Ag Innovation bill that was going to rely on Legacy Fund earnings to back up loans for things like a crush plant or animal feeding operations – you know- Ag Innovations. Anyway, today the House Approps committee cut the $150 million cap on that to $5 million. I guess you could call that more than a haircut, as they say around the Capitol halls.
It seems that the Streaming bill aka HB1380 could join HB1431 as a hope for bigger infrastructure projects using the Legacy Fund earnings, but none of the onlookers could find the amendments the committee was working from this morning so details will be coming later.
Also, the Senate Approps committee took the North Dakota Trade Office and its $1.6 million budget and put it under the Ag Department. The bill (SB2171) failed because that committee stashed the money in the Ag Dept. budget and put the policy in with it, rendering the bill redundant.
Again, with Crossover nearly here, the Senate finishes up on the Floor tomorrow while the House will be fortunate to be done Thursday evening. Everything starts up again on March 3