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Democrats Push for Hearing on Oil Tax Credit Accountability

“Alaskans need to know what we got for our four billion dollar North Slope investment”

JUNEAU – Today, House Democratic Whip Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) called for a hearing on two bills designed to provide Alaskans more information on the State's North Slope investments.   The bills will help Alaskans know if our massive investments are meeting our twin goals of more oil in the pipeline and more jobs for Alaskans. Recent testimony puts the state’s investment at over $4 billion over the last five years.

“This year, Alaskans invested another $850 million on the North Slope, yet we still haven’t asked for or required a public description of what exactly we bought with that money,” said Rep. Gardner. “How do we make sure our investments are working toward more oil in the pipe and more jobs for Alaskans if we don’t ask? It’s time we did.”

Each bill would require that, when an oil company applies to receive tax credits from the state for an investment, it makes public certain information on the expenses incurred for which it is seeking state credits. The first bill (HB 263), would require a simple description of the creditable expenses, such as the name of the company, a brief description and location of the project, and the purpose of the expense.  The second bill (HB 268) would require the company to report the number of jobs resulting from the investment and the number which went to Alaskans.

“These bills simply require the industry to report to Alaskans the projects they’re doing and the Alaskans they’re hiring when they ask the state to participate in the costs,” said Rep. Gardner. “We’re not asking companies to share proprietary information, just include enough of a description for Alaskans so we can know what we bought with our public dollars.”

“A big part of why Alaska invests in the oil patch is to create jobs for Alaskans,” said Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage), a co-prime sponsor of the legislation requiring more information about job creation related to the oil tax credits. “The state should make sure Alaskans know about the job opportunities that come from these investments and how many of them went to Alaskans.”

Since going to a profits-based oil tax, the state has given over four billion dollars in tax credits to oil companies who invest in Alaska. In the oil tax discussions last session, the Department of Revenue stated that it either did not know or could not release without changes to state law the information about the work companies were doing to earn the credits they were claiming. These bills would allow Alaskans to know what Alaska is buying with our own investment.

Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) are co-prime sponsors of HB 263 requiring more information about the expenditures. House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) is a co-sponsor.

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