Community Meeting TONIGHT
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today, Tuesday May 17, 2016, the Goldstream Valley Watershed Project will host a community meeting at the Ken Kunkel Community Center. I’m working in Juneau for the extended session, but my staff will be there to listen to your concerns.
Researchers will present preliminary results from the permafrost survey that was conducted via helicopter earlier this year. In addition, the community members who participated in the snow survey will have an opportunity to share their notes.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 7PM
WHERE: Ken Kunkel Community Center, next to Ivory Jacks in Goldstream.
OIL AND GAS TAX CREDITS: A WIN FOR ALASKANS
Recently, the Alaska House of Representatives approved House Bill 247 to significantly reform Alaska’s unsustainable oil tax credit subsidy system. I cautiously supported the legislation after participating in a bipartisan effort to amend the bill to dramatically increase savings and fix flaws included in previous versions of the bill.
HB 247 was originally put forward by Alaska Governor Bill Walker. The Governor’s version of the bill would have offset Alaska’s fiscal gap by approximately $500 million. Over the course of the legislative session, the bill was dramatically changed through the Republican-controlled committee process to eliminate savings and new revenue in favor of concessions to the oil and gas industry. After weeks of negotiations and working together, the House was able to amend the bill to include provisions that will save Alaska over a billion dollars in oil tax credit subsidy payments by 2020. One of those provisions would eliminate the ability of large oil producers to carry forward losses to future years to offset the payment of billions of dollars in production taxes owed to the State of Alaska.
Alaska’s oil tax credit system has become a huge cost driver and is now the third largest state expenditure behind education and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Educating children and ensuring access to healthcare are essential state functions, but subsidizing the risk of the oil and gas industry is not.
In the past the oil industry has been very successful in lobbying for a system of subsidies and concessions that helps their bottom line, but hurts Alaskans. With the passage of HB 247 as amended, the House has reversed course by changing from a system that props up big oil to a system that acknowledges that the oil resource is owned by the people of Alaska.
The bill is now in the hands of the Senate and I am greatly concerned with the course of action they are taking.