“Alaska’s Oil, Alaska’s Jobs Act” uses tax breaks to encourage industry to hire Alaska residents

JUNEAU – Alaska’s oil and gas producers could get a tax break for hiring Alaska residents if the legislature passes a bill pre-filed by Representatives Chris Tuck and Berta Gardner (both D-Anchorage) and Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks). The proposal, known as the “Alaska’s Oil, Alaska’s Jobs Act,” would offer tax credit incentives for increasing the number of Alaskans on the payroll.

“Oil jobs are some of the highest paid ones in the state, and there are plenty of Alaskans who'd love to work up on the Slope. This will provide more opportunities for local hire in jobs with good pay and good benefits,” said Rep Tuck.

“This bill creates small tax changes that are a win-win for Alaskans and the industry,” said Rep. Gardner. “Once Alaskans get the good jobs the oil industry provides, industry gets its tax cut.”

“Alaskans are ready to work developing our resources, so instead of just giving the producers a tax break and hoping they put people to work, this bill puts Alaskans to work first,” said Rep. Kawasaki.

Under the proposal, an oil producer that fills 80% of its Alaska positions with Alaska residents would get a one percent reduction on its production tax. That reduction would increase by ½ percent for every additional percentage of Alaska residents a business has on permanent payroll. A business with Alaskans filling 100 percent of its Alaska positions would receive the maximum ten percent tax reduction.

“Alaskans own our oil resources and we should gain from their development. This creates a win-win, where the oil industry is rewarded by hiring more Alaskans,” said Rep Tuck.

“We’re working to make sure we craft the language in a way that incentivizes more good, lasting jobs for Alaskans, is fair to industry, and is a good investment of state dollars,” added Rep. Gardner.

In the past, Alaska-hire mandates have run into constitutional difficulties, but there is no case law on this type of incentive.

“Getting the jobs developing our resources is part of our constitutional mandate to provide maximum benefit to Alaskans from our natural resources,” said Rep. Gardner. “All of the Alaskans ready to get the good jobs on the Slope deserve for us to try every angle so Alaskans get the jobs developing Alaska’s resources.”

The bill will be released with other pre-filed legislation on Friday.

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