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House Resources unveils a version of oil tax bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm •  Published: March 29, 2013

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The House Resources Committee released an oil tax proposal Friday that co-chair Eric Feige said is fair to Alaskans and oil companies.

The proposal, like the version of SB21 that passed the Senate earlier this month, would fix the base tax rate at 35 percent and provide a $5-per-barrel credit for oil produced. But that credit would only apply to what would be considered new oil and production that also would qualify for a 20 percent tax break, known in this version as a gross value reduction rather than a gross revenue exclusion.

Areas that don't qualify for the gross value reduction would have a 35 percent base tax rate and a per-barrel allowance of up to $8 at oil prices around $90 a barrel or less, according to one calculation, and no allowance at higher prices, around $160 or above, according to that same calculation. A fiscal note for the latest version of the bill, which would estimate the impact on the state's finances, hasn't been released.

Feige, R-Chickaloon, said the Resources Committee plans to take public testimony, hear from the industry and consultants, and consider amendments next week before sending the bill to the House Finance Committee. About two weeks remain in the legislative session.

"When it leaves committee, it will be floor-ready, in my opinion," Feige said.

Gov. Sean Parnell has proposed overhauling Alaska's oil tax structure as a way to increase investment and production, which has been declining for years. Higher oil prices in recent years have helped to mask the impact of the decline on the state budget.

Supporters of the tax change say something needs to be done to try to get more oil flowing through the trans-Alaska pipeline. Critics say the approach constitutes a massive giveaway to oil companies with no assurances that they'll invest more in Alaska.

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