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Well, in my view this session has been a disaster with glimmers of good. I wish I could put a true and happier spin on this, but I canâ€™t. Iâ€™m including two press releases, one good and one bad.
The good news is a nice bill we worked on with Rep. Mia Costello that will make Anchorage and Alaska more vibrant, and cost-effectively reduce the low and middle-income housing shortage in Anchorage, passed and is on its way to the Governor.
Now for the not so good news. For the last three days I’ve been fighting to make a bad oil tax giveaway bill into a good oil tax production incentive bill. We didn’t have enough votes in a legislature that has sadly voted too much along party lines on major issues such as this.
I worked late into the night to do my research in order to push a bill that would have required investment towards new Alaska oil production in order for oil companies to earn tax credits and lower tax rates. But we were outvoted, and the bill that passed eliminates Alaska’s windfall profits share which kicked in only when oil companies made record and near record profits. Alaska’s share of the windfall profits created $17 billion in savings. The new bill will reduce Alaska’s revenue by $1 to $2 billion per year, and the tax break doesn’t require companies to spend any of that money in Alaska. Oil companies said they wouldn’t commit to spending that money in Alaska – which is what a smart company does when it gets a no-strings attached tax gift.
And, though I and others tried to reverse a three-year decline in school staff we need to teach our children and maximize their opportunity. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the support we needed from the governor and GOP-led House and Senate.
Here are Saturdsay’s and Sunday’s press releases on the subjects. Call any time if you want more information. Things are going eighteen hours a day here and I have to run back to committee. I hope all’s well. The press releases follow.
Written by: Representative Les Gara on Apr 16, 2013.
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