Tale of two states: N. Dakota has $4 billion saved from oil and gas taxes; Colorado has almost none

Nearly a decade ago, North Dakota and Colorado, poised for explosive growth in the drilling of energy resources, faced a decision: What to do with what appeared to be a never-ending geyser of new oil and gas riches?

Voters in Colorado opted for the status quo in 2008, rejecting competing efforts to use tax revenue from oil and gas production to pay for what backers called vital needs. They voted down one proposal to eliminate favorable energy industry tax deductions to pay for higher...

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