The House Resources Committee passed the governor’s oil tax break bill just after 2 a.m. Thursday morning after considering 34 amendments in a marathon meeting.
The most substantial amendment lowered the base tax rate oil producers would pay from 35 percent down to 33 percent. State officials on hand to address committee questions said revised revenue estimates would be forthcoming. The total estimated revenue loss under the 33 percent base tax rate is likely to lay between $500 million and $1 billion per year.
An earlier amendment by Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, sought to lower the base tax rate to 30 percent but failed in a 3-6 vote. Republican Reps. Eric Feige, Dan Saddler, Paul Seaton and Peggy Wilson joined Democratic Reps. Geran Tarr and Chris Tuck in opposition to Hawker’s amendment. Republican Reps. Craig Johnson and Kurt Olson voted with Hawker.
Wilson, who was visibly hesitant to announce her roll call vote on Hawker’s 30 percent amendment before voting no, later offered the more modest 33 percent amendment that prevailed along party lines.
State officials testified that a 30 percent base tax rate would have cost the state an extra $550 million per year, roughly, over the 35 percent base tax. That would mean a total of more than $1 billion per year revenue loss in the initial years.
Senate Bill 21’s next stop is the House Finance Committee, which has hearings scheduled on it later Thursday morning and afternoon.
Supporters — generally Republicans — say the bill is intended to stop declining oil production and reignite economic growth in Alaska. Opponents — generally Democrats and some moderate Republicans — say it’s a multibillion dollar tax giveaway that may fail to effect those intentions, while crippling the state treasury and curbing state projects and programs that rely on state oil tax revenue.
- Scattered throughout Alaska are hundreds of pieces of land that have been transferred to Alaska Native Corporations by the federal government.Some came with contamination. Getting them cleaned up has been a decades long process, and a new report catalogs those contaminated sites, but leaves some questions about who will orchestrate cleanup – and when.
- A bullet struck a Juneau school bus with two students aboard it Wednesday, according to a news release from Juneau Police Department.
- The cast and crew of the American Public Media program “A Prairie Home Companion” cruised to Alaska this summer.
- Skagway School went through a restructuring this year. An influx in students enabled the school to create single-grade classrooms in the elementary school, increase Spanish and music classes, and start an accelerated learning program. It also opened space for three new teachers.