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JUNEAU – House Bill 331 cleared a legislative hurdle on Thursday, passing the House of Representatives, with bipartisan support. The measure must still be approved by the Senate.
The measure was introduced by Governor Bill Walker and enables issuance of bonds to pay small oil and gas exploration companies the tax credits they were promised by the State of Alaska by past legislatures. Last year lawmakers worked to end the system that paid tax credits to small companies that produced oil and looked for new fields. Alaska’s three largest oil and gas companies are not eligible to receive these credits.
In exchange for getting paid now rather than waiting years, small companies that are owed credits will accept a discounted rate, saving the state a significant amount of money.
“We’re making good on the state’s promise to pay tax credits to independent explorers in exchange for their investment. Not only does this save the State of Alaska money, it also gives companies cash to spend now that prices are trending upward, something that will help put Alaskans to work,” Governor Walker stated. “I thank the members of the House Minority whose votes made this possible.”
H.B. 331 was carried on the floor by Representative Jason Grenn.
“At a time of fiscal challenge, in a State that largely depends on oil revenue, now is the time for innovative solutions to get these credits off the books, stimulate our economy, and allow projects that generate revenue to proceed,” Representative Grenn said. “H.B. 331 accomplishes all of this, all at no additional cost to the state. I am proud to be a part of this effort, and thank the Governor and his administration for developing a responsible, win-win plan forward for Alaska.”