A North Dakota Senate committee voted against a bill that would allow school districts to tap city sales tax to pay debt service on bonds.

Senate Bill 2137, sponsored by Rep. Gary Sukut, R-Williston, and Sen. Stan Lyson, R-Williston, would have allowed cities to ask voters for a 1% increase in the local sales tax and use the additional revenue to pay off school bonds.

The measure is aimed at helping school districts located in oil-boom areas deal with rising capital demand, notably the sponsors' city of Williston, where voters in a special December election rejected a $55 million general obligation bond proposal. It was the district's first bond request since 1955.

"The city of Williston has more than doubled in size in the past three years," Lyson was quoted as saying in a local report. "I know there's a strong feeling about sales tax for schools (but) it's really necessary to get something like this done."

The Senate Education Committee voted against the bill by 5-1.

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