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McGuire Wins Key Alaska Exemption in Proposed Washington Fuel Import Tax

(ANCHORAGE) – Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) has negotiated an agreement with the speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives in Washington State to include a key exemption for Alaskans in a fuel export bill scheduled for introduction today in Olympia.

The Anchorage lawmaker is co-chair of the Alaska Senate Natural Resources Committee, chair of the Senate Energy Committee and president of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). She negotiated the fuel exemption with Washington Speaker Pro Tem Jeff Morris, a 40th District Democrat.

“Olympia is facing a severe fiscal crisis,” McGuire said, “and the State of Washington has previously considered legislation to tax commerce between our two states.”

“In 2009, a state tax was proposed in Washington would have had a tremendous negative impact on Alaska’s economy,” McGuire added. “But prompted by objections from our Alaska lawmakers, the legislation was shelved and policymakers in Olympia went back to the drawing board.”

McGuire said the proposed measure discussed with Morris would levy a tax on motor fuels refined in Washington State and then exported to neighboring states.

In a January 14 letter to McGuire, Morris thanked the Anchorage lawmaker for working with his office to craft a credit for Alaska against the proposed tax.

“Alaska and Washington are bound together in a close economic relationship with important benefits for both states, with Alaska crude oil providing a reliable source of domestic crude for refineries in the State of Washington,” McGuire said.

“As the president of PNWER, I work closely with representatives from other states and provinces on this and other regional issues,” McGuire added.

The PNWER cross-border organization is an inter-governmental public-private partnership

representing the states of Alaska, Washington, Idaho, and Montana and the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon, and the Northwest and Nunavut territories.

“The exemption Speaker Morris worked with me to craft for Alaska is a perfect example of the

benefits of organizations like PNWER,” McGuire said. “With the highest gasoline prices in the United States and Alaskans suffering from burdensome energy costs, additional taxes could be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.

“I appreciate Speaker Morris’ support for our concerns and for working with me on this issue. This strengthens what is already a vibrant relationship between our states.”

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