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Job Creation in Private Industry Booms As Alaska Invests in Critical Infrastructure

JUNEAU- State investment in roads, schools, harbors, and other essential infrastructure has surged since Alaska raised its oil taxes in July of 2007.  With that surge in funding has come a significant increase in the number of jobs created in Alaska’s private sector, primarily in construction and related industries.    

The non-partisan Legislative Research Agency issued a report this week which estimates that an average of 18,209 jobs was created in each of the past seven years from state capital spending.  (See attached report.)  

“We’ve created a staggering number of private industry jobs for Alaskans with our expanded oil tax revenue,” said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage).  “This year alone, we expect to create upwards of 19,000 jobs in the private sector, which will help many Alaskan families pay their bills and lay the groundwork for a strong economy for years to come.”

Wielechowski added that “Alaskans and businesses in every corner of the state will benefit since investments in infrastructure take place in almost every community.” He urged Alaskans to consider these findings as they weigh the pros and cons of reducing taxes on the oil industry.

In a related report, the Legislative Research Agency tallied the amount the state invested in capital projects in each of the past 30 years.

In the 25 years before the legislature passed Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share in July of 2007, reforming its oil tax system, the state invested less than $500,000 million per year on average in critical state and community infrastructure.  In the five years since, the state has invested nearly $1.4 billion per year.

Wielechowski noted that the Governor’s proposal to roll-back oil taxes by about $2 billion a year would “rob the state of the funds needed to build roads and schools and grow Alaska’s economy.  It would also slash the number of jobs within private businesses that have been created as a result of the state’s robust capital budget.”

He noted that federal spending in Alaska is decreasing and that “Alaska will have to invest in improving and maintaining our own infrastructure to grow our economy.”  

For more information, contact Senator Wielechowski at 242-1558 or Michelle Sydeman at 321-1944.

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