Alexandra Gutierrez, APRN - Juneau
Over the course of his administration, Gov. Sean Parnell has made an overhaul of the state’s oil tax system a top priority. In previous legislative sessions, his efforts to bring down the overall tax rate on oil companies has been stymied by the Senate. But this week, that body passed an amended version of his plan. On Thursday, he sat down with APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez to discuss the status of the bill.
The House gets its first stab at the Senate’s oil tax package Friday. The bill, which gets rid of a mechanism that raises the tax rate on oil as the price per barrel goes up, will be taken up in the resources committee.
Debate on whether the state’s oil tax system should be overhauled continued in fits and spurts on Wednesday. By early evening, the Senate had considered seven amendments to a bill flattening the tax rate on oil companies and shifting incentives for credits. Download Audio
Legislation that would overhaul the state’s oil tax system has been moving its way through the Senate. Tuesday, the bill made it to the floor. While there wasn’t a formal debate on the bill, Democrats in the minority took advantage of the procedural motions to raise questions about how the changes would affect the state treasury.
The House passed its version of the state operating budget today, trimming the governor’s proposal by $100 million. Debate over the bill didn’t result in any changes, but Democrats used it as a way to put their funding priorities on record.
The latest rewrite of a bill cutting taxes on oil companies is expected to cost the state more than $1 billion next year. That is more than any version that’s been introduced so far.
A bill that would allow the state to drug test recipients of cash assistance programs got its first hearing on Tuesday.
At today’s prices, Alaska’s oil tax system can be compared to those of Norway, Russia, and Venezuela in terms of how much money it puts in state coffers. A plan introduced by the Senate finance committee today would change that. It’s a new version of the oil tax plan Governor Parnell introduced earlier this session.
Around this time of year, Juneau is known for the bustle of the legislative session — the committee hearings, the press conferences, and the many, many floor speeches. But after hours, some members of the capital gang can be found making noise of a different variety.
For the past two days, the House Finance Committee has heard testimony on what it should cut from the operating budget and, especially, what it shouldn’t. Opposition has been especially vocal when it comes to an $8.4 million reduction in behavioral health funding.
One hundred years ago this week, the first territorial legislature gathered in Juneau. For the past few days, legislators past and present have been celebrating that event, and reflecting on Alaska’s history since the inaugural meeting.