Alaska legislative panel unveils oil tax rewrite

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 9:48 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
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The Senate proposal, among other things, includes a corporate tax break for companies that manufacture products in Alaska that can be used in the oil fields. And it calls for a board to assess the competitiveness of Alaska against other oil-producing regions, an issue promoted strongly by Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage.

Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, questioned the corporate tax break and subsidizing this particular industry over others.

The House and Senate Resources committees have both been holding hearings on the issue but the Senate is expected to now take the lead. House Speaker Mike Chenault said Friday that the decision to go that route was a matter of spreading the workload and looking at the best use of his committees' time, as the legislature nears the half-way mark of the 90-day session with a number of issues — including Chenault's gas line bill — still in process.

Additional work will be done on the oil tax bill, with Senate Resources having meetings scheduled next week and Senate Finance expected to do more of the heavy lifting as it analyzes the fiscal impact of the bill. A fiscal note was not yet available for the rewritten bill.

Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, and the lone minority member on resources, was absent Friday but would have a chance to offer his amendments on Monday, Giessel said.

Minority Democrats have released their own plan for increasing production, billed as an alternative to what they call Parnell's "oil wealth giveaway." It would provide tax breaks for oil from new fields or legacy fields, including a break for future production in legacy fields over 2012 levels. It would cap progressivity, require development plans from initial leases on state lands, set a tax floor to protect the state if oil prices plummet and make state loans available for production facilities at new fields.

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Follow Becky Bohrer on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckybohrerap