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Morning Headlamp - Is AKLNG the only project that will revitalize Alaska's economy? Governor Walker thinks so.

Ratcheting up his rhetoric


Crisis Mode. Gov. Bill Walker delivered his State of the State last night, touching on similar themes and receiving familiar skepticism. With 15 new legislators in Juneau, Walker pitched a stripped-down version of his budget package from last year and left room for adaptation — all while ratcheting up his rhetoric and telling lawmakers that "denial doesn't make the problem go away." In last year's speech, Walker referred to Alaska's "cash flow problem." Now, he says the state is in a full-blown "crisis" — a word he'd previously avoided, but used seven times Wednesday night. "Whatever your plan may be, put it out there," Walker said, "and let's get to work to find a solution. But if your plan does not close the fiscal gap, be sure to also identify the amount from our dwindling savings it'll take each year to cover the gap under your plan."


Andrew Jensen of the Alaska Journal of Commerce penned an editorial on the recent spate of big oil discoveries and tax policy discussion sure to dominate this legislative session. According to Jensen, "When the Legislature inevitably takes up oil tax policy this session, it is important to remember who was completely wrong about SB 21. All of the current developments and the 2016 increase in production would have been at risk if the Democrats and Walker had their way in 2014." In his state of the state last night, Governor Walker said "I'm a fan of a stable fiscal foundation." Headlamp hopes that is true. 


The editorial comes just days after ConocoPhillips Alaska President Joe Marushack described how the company's process for allocating capital in Alaska is contingent on consistent financial policy.


The first week of the 30th Alaska Legislature is going…fine. With an abundance of new lawmakers, particularly in the House of Representatives, lawmakers are feeling each other out and coping with the implications of a new House Majority coalition that includes Democrats, a few Independents and three moderate Republicans. "There's so many new people," said Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, and a veteran returning for his sixth session. "The leadership in the House and the Senate is composed of individuals who have longstanding personal and legislative relationships," he said. "I think that's going to be a critical element as we go forward."


Since late November, major oil companies have announced 11 deals worth more than $500 million each with a combined value of $31 billion, the clearest sign yet that oil executives are more confident a recovery is underway. "You're seeing the majors sharpening their pencils after a long while and actually flipping around from disposals to acquisitions," said Tony Durrant, chief executive of British energy firm Premier Oil (PMO.L), which is looking to sell several stakes in its North Sea operations. Total acquisitions of oil and gas fields, known as upstream assets, tripled to $31 billion in December from a month earlier, when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output for the first time in eight years, according to data from consultancy Energy Market Square.


First Reads

Walker renews call for budget reforms: 'Denial doesn't make the problem go away'

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, January 18, 2017

Gov. Walker hits on same budget themes with new Legislature

KTOO, Andrew Kitchenman, January 18, 2017

Big Oil back on the acquisition trail as outlook brightens

Reuters, Ron Bousso, January 19, 2017

AJOC EDITORIAL: The discoveries that almost didn't happen

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, January 18, 2017

Session opens with smiles amid deficit cloud

Alaska Journal of Commerce, James Brooks, January 18, 2017

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