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Forecast calls for less revenue this year, next

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm •  Published: April 5, 2013
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Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher attributed the production decline for the current year to maintenance work that resulted in less oil than forecast last fall. For 2014, he said a contract was signed to use 10,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids for enhanced oil recovery efforts and that accounts for the vast majority of the 11,800 barrel-per-day difference between fall and spring.

Senate Finance Committee co-chair Kevin Meyer said legislators knew the forecast would be worse than earlier expected, adding that the numbers were in the range of what legislators had heard they might be. Meyer, R-Anchorage, who helped craft the Senate version of the capital budget, said the fiscal concerns are going to get worse in the future if the trend of declining oil production continues.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, said he is "very skeptical" of the numbers produced by Revenue. He said lowering the forecast will lower the fiscal note on the oil tax bill, SB21.

Butcher said the new numbers have "absolutely nothing" to do with SB21. Forecast numbers "are put together based on information gathered by the Department of Revenue and seeing that oil production has been declining at a rate greater than projected for decades, it can't come as a surprise that there has been a drop, although it is relatively small compared to the fall forecast."

The report also shows Alaska's current oil production tax is expected to generate about $4.4 billion this year. That compares to $6.1 billion in 2012. While oil is the main focus — it provides about 90 percent of the state's unrestricted revenues — the department reported that total revenue for this year is expected to total $17.7 billion, which it says would be the second-highest total state revenue in Alaska history. That includes about $10 billion in restricted revenues, including investment revenue from the Alaska Permanent Fund and constitutional budget reserve fund.

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

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Online:

Spring revenue forecast: http://1.usa.gov/10lWVKq