In April, Gov. Sean Parnell traveled to Europe for what he described as a “fact-finding mission” on international oil tax structures. On Thursday, the governor shared his conclusions from that trip with the Juneau World Affairs Council.
In justifying the travel, Parnell said he wanted to see a place that had changed its tax regime five years out.
“And the North Sea turned out to be that place. Like Alaska, the North Sea is a harsh, unforgiving environment. It’s an offshore industry with platforms, supply ships, helicopters, sub-sea pipelines …”
Parnell also noted that the North Sea was an old prospect that had coped with declines in oil production.
“Any of this sounding vaguely familiar? It kind of sounds like home, actually.”
During his visit, Parnell spent time in Norway and Scotland. He spoke of Scotland favorably, comparing Alaska’s recently passed tax overhaul to Scotland’s own policy. He applauded the country for lowering its tax rate and for creating incentives for new production on legacy fields. Norway, he criticized for raising its taxes, which he said created uncertainty for producers.
This spring, critics of Parnell’s oil tax plan argued that Alaska shared much in common with Norway and should have a similarly high tax rate. And during his presentation, Parnell was asked if he was worried that Alaska taking part in a race to the bottom on oil taxes. The governor reframed that by answering that his top concern was keeping Alaska “competitive” on a global marketplace.
- The actor and writer who brought his signature manic energy to comedy classics died at his home in Stamford, Conn., of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.
- The Crystal Serenity cruise ship is making a 32-day voyage from Anchorage to New York City. Meanwhile, the potential environmental impact of a journey of that scope has some worried.
- For the first time in years, Alaska is seriously talking about putting a kind of referee in charge of how electricity moves from point A to point B in Alaska's Railbelt. That could lower Alaskans' electric bills. The Railbelt's power companies are working on making this happen, but they're also nervous about handing over the keys to just anyone.
- Students will be entering a brand-new school for the first time when classes start Monday. It's located at the same site as the scene of the tragedy and the architects were inspired by nature.