North Dakota Potash Tax Looks to the Future

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"It's a win-win situation."

Potash mining isn't really an industry yet in North Dakota, but that hasn't stopped the Legislature from being prepared for the future.

Lawmakers last week approved a 2% tax on potash mining, well ahead of when the industry is actually likely to become reality in the state. But better to be prepared than have to play catch-up later.

Potash deposits are located in Divide, Burke, Bottineau and Renville counties. The mineral is a type of salt used to manufacture fertilizer. Some test wells have been drilled, but there's no actual production taking place yet. Industry officials are confident potash mining will be successful in the state in the near future, leading legislators to act now. The approved legislation also requires a study of potash mining and taxation, with a report due to the 2013 Legislature, and creates a $2 million fund for loans to local governments affected by potash mining. It also includes environmental oversight by the State Industrial Commission.

It's a good start for legislators and the potash mining industry. The tax isn't too high, which shouldn't discourage potential development of potash mining in the future, yet is high enough that the taxes collected will make a difference in helping the counties where the mining will take place. It's a win-win situation.

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