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Minority Democrats propose oil tax plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013

"Giving away billions without any assurance of new production is a fool's errand," he said at a news conference, flanked by House and Senate Democrats.

For Democrats, the biggest rub with Parnell's plan is the elimination of progressivity, a concern that also has been raised by some Republicans. Eliminating the surcharge would mean revenue would drop by $800 million next fiscal year and by $1.8 billion by 2017, but the change in tax credits would temper the overall fiscal impact, according to an analysis of the governor's bill, based on the fall revenue forecast.

Minority members say that amounts to a giveaway, with no guarantee the companies will invest more in Alaska.

Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, said he thinks some of the Democrats' ideas will get a closer look as lawmakers work on an oil tax bill.

Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the administration is pleased the Democrats "agree there is a problem with production under the current system."

Democratic leaders have said the current system is working, benefiting both the state and companies, but that they are open to tweaks to improve it.

After a cursory look at their bill Monday, Leighow said the governor was concerned the proposal "simply nibbles at the edges of the problem, while leaving Alaska's treasury at risk and accepting the status quo production decline." She said the administration would review the legislation more closely and measure it against its four guiding principles for tax changes.

Parnell has said he would be open to legislators' ideas, but his decision-making would be guided by whether it is fair to Alaskans, encourages new production, is simple and restores balance to the system and is durable.


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