Oil and gas production tax introduced

The Alaska House Majority Coalition on Jan. 16 introduced legislation that would boost the state’s oil and gas minimum tax from four percent to seven percent, to raise approximately $225 million.

House Bill 288 was referred to the House Resources and House Finance committees.

“The Senate’s unwillingness to consider new revenues has left Alaskans with limited choices for a sustainable budget future,” said Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, who introduced House Bill 288 with Rep. Andy Josephson, D- Anchorage and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer. Tarr and Josephson are the Democratic co-chairs of the House Resources Committee, and Seaton co-chairs the House Finance Committee.

Tarr also co-chairs the bipartisan House and Senate oil and gas tax working group, which will be considering the state’s current overall oil and gas tax system.

The legislation “a modest, fair increase in oil taxes that benefit all of Alaska,” she said.

Alaska Department of Revenue data indicates that the state received only about $1 a barrel of oil, which has stabilized in the $60 per barrel range, through the current minimum production tax.

“Stability in oil taxes ensure that present and future Alaskans can share in the benefits of Alaska’s natural resource wealth,” Josephson said. “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,” he said.

“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,” Seaton said. “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.”