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AOGA has problems with Parnell oil tax bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Oil and Gas Association is raising concerns with Gov. Sean Parnell's plan to overhaul the state's oil tax structure.

The trade group's executive director, Kara Moriarty, said Friday that it's clear Parnell has a vision for Alaska's future. However, "we do not believe the bill in its current form achieves the governor's goals of growing the state's economy," she told The Associated Press in an email.

Parnell introduced legislation this week aimed at making Alaska more competitive and encouraging new oil production. His plan eliminates the progressive surcharge that companies have called a disincentive to new investment, and it revamps the state's suite of tax credits, focusing those incentives on companies that produce oil from new fields on the North Slope.

"We are restoring balance to the system by adding more protection at lower prices while reducing the government take on the high end," said Parnell's spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow.

Moriarty said her group supports part of what Parnell is proposing, including elimination of the surcharge and a tax break for oil from new fields. But she said it has concerns with changes to some of the tax credits and sees the plan as a tax increase when oil prices are lower.

"As we continue to evaluate the bill, we are committed to working with the governor and the Legislature in building a long-term policy for Alaska," she said.

Some critics of Parnell's plan — particularly Democrats — have cast it as a repackaged version of his prior, failed attempts to get a tax cut passed and as a giveaway to oil companies.

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