FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2018
Fairness in Oil Taxes Bill Introduced
Juneau – Recognizing that Alaska’s fiscal gap can’t be reduced through budget cuts alone, members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition today introduced legislation to increase revenue to address Alaska’s $2.5 billion funding gap. House Bill 288 increases Alaska’s oil and gas minimum tax from four percent to seven percent, which would raise approximately $225 million.
HB 288 was introduced by Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), the Democratic Co-Chairs of the House Resources Committee, along with Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer), a Republican who Co-Chairs the House Finance Committee. Rep. Tarr also Co-Chairs the bipartisan House and Senate Oil and Gas Tax Working Group, which will be looking at the overall oil and gas tax system in Alaska.
“The Senate’s unwillingness to consider new revenues has left Alaskans with limited choices for a sustainable budget future,” said Rep. Tarr. “This bill represents a modest, fair increase in oil taxes that benefit all of Alaska.”
Over the past year, oil prices have stabilized in the $60 per barrel range. Alaska Department of Revenue data indicates the state only receives approximately $2 per barrel of oil through the minimum production tax.
“Stability in oil taxes ensures that present and future Alaskans can share in the benefits of Alaska’s natural resource wealth,” said Rep. Josephson. “If we aren’t increasing the Permanent Fund, then we won’t have new revenues to share through the permanent fund dividend program. Even with all the increased oil exploration happening in existing and new locations, we can’t balance the budget with the existing revenue stream.”
HB 288 was introduced today and referred to the House Resources Committee and the House Finance Committee.
“The Alaska House Majority Coalition is committed to a vibrant and diversified future for Alaska where our kids can get a great education, our seniors and elders are cared for, and our economy works for all Alaskans,” said Rep. Seaton. “If the Senate refuses to address small steps to diversify revenue sources, then we must continue to rely on the oil and gas sector to fill the gap.”
The Alaska House Majority Coalition was formed in 2016 with a united focus on passing a full, comprehensive and sustainable fiscal plan for Alaska’s future.
“This slight but fair addition to the minimum tax will add a reasonable amount of money to the state’s revenue to help reduce the budget deficit,” said Tarr.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.