Resource development, specifically the oil and gas exploration happening now in Eastern Montana, often causes a rapid influx of new people moving into rural communities. Large numbers of new residents can strain existing infrastructure - housing, education, law enforcement and public safety such as fire and emergency medical response. Current oil and gas exploration has also pushed our road and water infrastructure to the breaking point.
In order to deal with the strains that come with developing Montana’s oil and gas resources, rural communities need to share in the revenue created. However, Montana’s existing oil and gas tax holiday prevents funding from getting to rural communities that need it. The result is crumbling roads and bridges due to heavy use; an insufficient police, fire and rescue force; overcrowded classrooms, and inadequate, unavailable or unaffordable housing across much of Eastern Montana.
Since oil and gas companies are creating much of the strain, it makes sense that they should contribute more to fixing the problems. In the last 5 years, $73 million that could have gone to address these challenges in Eastern Montana’s rural cities and small towns went instead to record profits for oil companies.
Capturing this revenue is crucial to enabling communities to meet the needs of their residents, and ensure prosperity for everyone living in Eastern Montana.
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