Democrats Introduce Accountability Measures for Oil Tax Credits
“Alaskans need to know what we’re buying with the three billion the state has invested on the North Slope since passage of ACES”
JUNEAU – Today, House Democratic Whip Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) introduced two pre-filed bills designed to provide Alaskans more information on the State's North Slope investments. The bills will help Alaskans know if our massive investment is meeting our twin goals of more oil in the pipeline and more jobs for Alaskans.
“Through our generous tax credits, Alaskans are the biggest investors on the North Slope. And for hundreds of millions a year in oil industry tax credits, Alaskans need to know exactly what we’re buying,” said Rep. Gardner. “Shame on us for not already insisting this information be provided and available before writing multi-million dollar checks, but it’s never too late to start,” said Rep. Gardner.
Each bill would require that, when an oil company applies to receive tax credits from the state for an investment, it provide certain information to be made public on the expenses it incurred for which it is seeking the credits. The first bill (HB 263) would require a description of the creditable expenses themselves, such as what the company spent the money on, where the investment occurred, and the purpose of the expense. The second bill (HB 268) would require that the company state how many jobs resulted from the investment and how many of those jobs 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. “It’s not too much to ask, and we should have done it at the outset.”
“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 ACES passed, the state has given over three 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), a co-prime sponsor of HB 263 requiring more information about the expenditures.