House commitee pushes back on governor’s attempt to increase taxes on Alaska oil industry


A Billet committee has watered down Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to increase the oil oeuvre tax and reduce tax credits id to the oil and gas industry, introducing replacement legislation that make be worth about $50 million a year in savings instead of the $400 million in both savings and interest proposed by the governor.

The substitute bill, introduced over the weekend by influence in the House Resources Committee, also removes trans rency provisions proposed by the governor that desire have disclosed which com nies receive tax credits, and for how much.

Walker mentioned House Bill 247 as rt of a broad ckage to help not far from the state’s massive budget gap caused by low oil prices — a deficit that’s now reckoned to reach $4.1 billion in the current year. Other measures from the governor encom ss creating the state’s first individual income tax since 1980 and changing the way the Undying Fund is managed. The Permanent Fund change would result in reduce dividends for at least the next few years.

The committee substitute, if approved, will-power require a much larger draw from the state’s rapidly dwindling savings, replied Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, a member of the committee.

“Why is it OK to make huge ceases to programs for seniors and the disabled, but to s re the oil industry?” Josephson asked. “I don’t take the logic.”

The committee substitute is designed to ensure that com nies deprecatory to the economy can continue operating, said Gary Zepp, an aide to Rep. Ben Nageak, D-Barrow, co-chair of the cabinet that caucuses with the Republican-led majority.

“It costs more to get oil out of the deposit than they are getting for the oil,” Zepp said.

Amendments to the proposed folding money are expected to be considered Tuesday afternoon.

The governor’s version would have on the agenda c trick raised $500 million in its first year, in 2017, and less in the next two years, concurring to a preliminary analysis by the Revenue De rtment that also reviewed the commission substitute.

The substitute bill protects North Slope oil producers, where the form has traditionally made much of its income through production taxes. The governor had hankered to increase the minimum production tax from 4 percent to 5 percent, a measure connived to raise $100 million. The new bill eliminates that increase.

The governor had also named reducing the amount of refunded tax credits, which are id in cash, by $400 million in 2017. Of that, $200 million in economies would have been achieved by deferring yment until later.

The arranged deferral won’t happen under the committee proposal because it removes an annual eligibility cap for each friends proposed at $25 million by Walker. Instead, the committee proposal customaries the annual eligibility cap at $200 million for each com ny, a level that’s not had to be met but will protect the state if a huge project is sanctioned, supporters of the new bid said.

In Cook Inlet, the substitute bill will phase in reductions to some tax-credit programs, starting in 2017 and continuing in 2018, with the 40 percent well-lease fee yment credit phasing out after 2018. The governor had proposed an effective la mode of July 1 for his reductions, with some credits targeted for elimination then, including the well-lease recognition.

The bill retains some key provisions in Walker’s plan. It mandates that some credits run out as planned, such as the small producer credit worth about $12 million a year for a rtnership. That will end May 1.

In another similarity, the new measure will also neck a loophole tied to the per-barrel credit for so-called “new oil” — known as the unsophisticated value reduction that supports relatively new projects. In some lawsuits, com nies could use the credit to inflate their net-operating loss, and rise what they received under a 35 percent net operating dying credit.

Nageak and his fellow committee co-chair, Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, did not renewal calls seeking comment. Walker was also unavailable for comment, a spokeswoman declared.

The committee bill would create a legislative working group to make a ss at changes to the Cook Inlet tax regime that will be considered by the Legislature next origin. The goal is creating a long-term system that promotes stable investment and oil and gas performance in Cook Inlet, said Rena Delbridge, who helped develop the cabinet substitute as an aide to Resources vice-chair Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage.

Josephson affirmed the committee substitute, if ultimately approved by the Legislature, will affect his ca bility faculty to support an overall state fiscal plan. He won’t feel comfortable nurture income taxes on individuals or reducing dividend checks if the oil industry isn’t also taxed to a com re favourably with degree.

Josephson noted that the Revenue De rtment’s spring take forecast released on Monday shows the state collecting just $690 million in unrestricted diversified fund revenue from the oil industry next year, with most of that on account of royalties. Meanwhile, the state currently expects to y $825 million in specie tax credits, leaving a negative balance of $134 million. But the state also guesses to receive an additional $318 million in restricted revenue, such as into the Invariable Fund.

“We’re scheduled to y more in credits than we’d receive from the oil production (into the general fund),” said Josephson.

In describing an estimated net wastage for Alaska’s treasury next year from adding unrestricted, general-fund oil gates and subtracting oil tax credits, an earlier version of this story didn’t note the judged amount that the state is expected to collect in restricted revenue from the oil determination in 2017. Adding all three items together will result in the testify receiving more money from the industry than it spends on tax reliabilities, according to the De rtment of Revenue projection.

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