The first changes have been made to Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil tax proposal.
The Senate resources committee offered their substitute on Friday, and it would bring the current base tax rate up from 25 to 35 percent. It also includes a $5 per barrel production tax credit and exempts 30 percent of new oil production from taxes. Like the governor’s bill, the committee substitute gets rid of progressivity, a mechanism that raises taxes when oil prices are high.
Sen. Peter Micciche, a Republican from Soldotna, explains that the goal of the substitute is to level out the government take at different oil prices. He says the substitute incorporates recommendations issued during earlier hearings of the governor’s bill.
“We heard complaints that the take was too high of a tax increase at the low end. We heard that people, including many senators, didn’t like the slightly regressive nature of the original SB21,” Micciche says.
The substitute also would give a tax break to Alaska manufacturers that make products that can be used for oil exploration, and it would also create a “Competitiveness Review Board” tasked with looking at how Alaska compares with other oil-producing provinces.
The Department of Revenue is still analyzing what effect the committee substitute would have on state coffers.
Both the Senate and House resources committees have multiple hearings on oil taxes scheduled this week. Ninety percent of the state’s revenue is tied to oil production.
- The Juneau Access Project envisions 50 more miles of road up Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal closer to the road system. It has divided the Juneau community for decades and faces significant opposition from other southeast cities including Haines and Skagway. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pulled the plug on the $574 million project last month.
- The Juneau Assembly heard more than 90 minutes of testimony from dozens of residents including merchants, social workers and homeless people themselves who all agreed on one thing: Juneau has a serious homeless problem. But speakers had radically different viewpoints.
- President Trump indicated that potential deals between the pipeline companies and the federal government would be renegotiated, with the goal of allowing construction to move forward.
- The Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office will not pursue timber sales at controversial sites in Petersburg and Ketchikan – at least for now.