The plan was introduced by Gov. Sean Parnell, and it comes in response to the closure of the Flint Hills oil refinery. It originally applied to the Petro Star refineries in Valdez and North Pole and the Tesoro refinery in Kenai, but was amended yesterday to include the shuttered Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski.
The bill allows each of those facilities to secure an tax credit or payment of $10 million a year if they spend $25 million on tangible assets.
Supporters of the bill argue it’s necessary to keep the refineries running because of the jobs they provide and their importance to the state’s military bases. But some Democrats have characterized the bill as a bailout, and they unsuccessfully tried amending the bill so that the money would be given out as loans instead.
The bill passed today on a 35-5 vote. Anchorage Democrats Les Gara, Harriet Drummond, and Andy Josephson opposed the bill, along with Juneau Democrat Sam Kito III and Eagle River Republican Lora Reinbold. It still needs to be approved by the Senate.
- The legislation would close a quarter of the gap between what the state government spends and what it raises.
- Sen. Kevin Meyer said his constituents oppose creating a new bureaucracy to collect an income tax when the Permanent Fund continues to pay dividends.
- Two dead squid have washed ashore in as many weeks, but it's unclear if these are unrelated incidents or a sign of something more significant.
- A GoFundMe appeal to help rebuild the Twin Lakes playground raised $4,625 in less than a day. But read the fine print: the website takes nearly 8 percent in fees.