Oil tax bill would have immediate fiscal impact

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm •  Published: January 16, 2013
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He said this week that it would restore balance to the system.

In his transmittal letter to the leaders of the House and Senate, Parnell said the bill "provides a path to more Alaskan opportunity through more Alaskan oil and production."

Eliminating the surcharge would mean revenue would drop by $800 million next fiscal year and by $1.8 billion by 2017, according to the fiscal note. However, the change in tax credits tempers the overall impact, the analysis says.

A number of legislators said Wednesday that they hadn't yet read the bill or were still digesting it.

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, a leader of the Senate's efforts last year to overhaul the tax structure, called the elimination of the surcharge a red flag, because he said you don't want to be in a situation where, as oil prices increase, the state's share decreases. But he said there might be some things that neutralize that impact. He is among the lawmakers who believe the state's take at higher oil prices under the current system is too high.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said the Senate majority isn't interested in a giveaway but is looking to incentivize new production and get more revenue for the state. Critics of Parnell's tax proposals — including the latest one — have branded them a giveaway to oil companies.

Rep. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, and co-chair of the House Resources Committee, called Parnell's proposal a "great starting point" for lawmakers and said the administration has done its homework. A criticism of past efforts by the administration was that officials were ill-prepared to respond to lawmakers' questions or that there were too many unanswered questions for lawmakers to move forward.

Feige said he has long advocated for a simpler system. He said expects an oil tax bill, of some kind, to pass this year. The charge for legislators, he said, is to make sure that any bill is fair to all involved — including Alaskans and companies.

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The governor's oil tax bill is SB21 on the Senate side and HB72 on the House side. Text of the bill can be found at: http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/get_bill_text.asp?hsid=HB0072A&session=28 .

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