Butcher: Administration plans oil tax bill

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline outside Fairbanks. Photo by Rosemarie Alexander.

Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher says the Parnell administration intends to submit legislation to change Alaska’s oil tax structure.

The administration is looking at production tax credits, which could top $1 billion next fiscal year. The full benefit of that program to the state remains somewhat murky.

Gov. Sean Parnell two years ago introduced legislation to reduce petroleum taxes as a way to boost declining production.  While the bill passed the House, it was locked in the Senate, where Republicans and Democrats alike were concerned the state would lose too much revenue and oil companies wouldn’t increase investment in the state.

The Alaska Department of Revenue has released its Fall Revenue Sources Book.  It says unrestricted general fund revenue — money that is easier to access and spend — could be $1.6 billion lower than earlier forecast for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 due to various factors, including lower-than-expected oil prices.

Unrestricted revenue is forecast to be between $6-billion and $7-billion a year for the next nine years, assuming oil prices remain above $100 per barrel  to the year 2022.

For fiscal year 2013, oil prices are estimated to average $108.67 per barrel. Prices may average $109.61 per barrel for FY 2014.

Oil provides about 90 percent of Alaska’s unrestricted revenue.

 

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