There is no question that our lawmakers must act to prevent our economy from being thrown into recession if nothing is done to prevent the fiscal cliff. But at the same time, let’s hope they practice prudence in their decision making, particularly when it comes to tax increases.
During these fiscal cliff debates there have been some tax hikes proposed that would be particularly onerous to Montana. Some have called for removing important tax deductions for energy companies — deductions that were put in place to encourage the creation of new energy jobs.
Removing these types of tax deductions for energy companies — wrongly referred to as subsidies by their proponents — would have the direct impact of making it harder for our energy companies to create jobs in our state. I must say I have been excited at the prospect of the jobs an expanding Bakken could provide in an economically dead Montana.
Not only would we harm energy jobs, but the higher taxes would lead to higher prices that consumers pay for energy at the pump and in their homes. For an energy producing state like ours, this could be the worst-case scenario coming from a fiscal cliff compromise. Sens. Baucus and Tester will play a pivotal role in these negotiations — let’s hope they do what is best for our state and their constituents.