Alaska Senate Bill 21 has been re-written to reduce the oil tax base rate from 35% to 33%, the Alaska Dispatch reported on April 4. The changes could cost the state an additional $1 billion over the next six years, according to the State’s Department of Revenue, in Pat Forgey’s report filed on April 6. The bill is estimated to cost the state between $5.7 billion and $6 billion over the next six years. Ordinary Alaskans have been protesting SB-21 as well.
One of the bill’s chief proponents “House Resources Committee Co-chair Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, said that if Alaska took $1 billion less in taxes from oil companies, that money would all be reinvested in Alaska,” Forgey reported.
But, “the tax cut is to oil companies’ profits, they’ll have to pay income tax on that money. The federal corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, though companies had varying effective tax rates. Therefore, a billion dollar tax cut would leave companies with only $650 million available to be invested in Alaska, in theory, if they choose to do so.”
The entire point of Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) – one of Gov. Palin’s three core accomplishments while in office – is to give oil companies the opportunity to buy down their tax burden by reinvesting in Alaska.
Meanwhile, Forgey reported on April 6 that the House in the dark of night passed an Amendment to SB-21 that requires state auditors checking companies’ tax returns to use oil industry figures and not their own. “The amendment was proposed by Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage. His wife is a business and financial analyst for ConocoPhillips, the state’s largest oil producer. According to Hawker’s financial disclosure filings, she earned between $100,000 and $200,000 from her ConocoPhillips job last year,” Forgey reported.
The language of this amendment was in the Petroleum Profits Tax (PPT) of 2006. Out of the PPT was born the Corrupt Bastards Club (CBC) and the VECO scandal. It appears Alaska Governor Sean Parnell along with his henchmen and women in both houses are gearing up to launch CBC 2.0.
Another Dispatch article filed on April 4 by Laurel Andrews delineated in detail how Alaska’s laws foster conflicts of interest in the legislature. Legislators cannot simply recuse themselves from a vote. The Uniform Rules require unanimous consent from the requestor’s colleagues, however, a legislator is free to abstain from voting altogether absent a request to recuse.
Alaskans Awake and Protesting
Alaskans are awake to what is going on with SB-21 and have protest in at least two cities. Some have organized under the banner of “AKBackbone,” which is comprised of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
AK Backbone has been conducting rallies and protests throughout the state and the Dispatch provided photos from Anchorage, all courtesy of Clark James Mishner.
These photos in which protesters burn a symbolic $5.5 billion check in Homer are courtesy of Bob Shavelson.
H/T Lynda Armstrong, “I Stand With Sarah: a Tribute” Facebook Group for story leads.