Morning Headlamp — Gov. Walker wants to “get off” oil

“It’s all on the positive side.” In a recent interview with CNBC, Governor Bill Walker said that “If we fix this once, when oil prices rise we don’t need to change anything. It’s all on the positive side,” referring to oil and gas tax credits. “What we have done as a state, we’ve said let’s live off one commodity,” Walker said. “So I say let’s get off of this.”

All positive? Get off this? Headlamp wonders if the general public knows that the only plan Governor Walker has to replace the state’s oil economy is new taxes and reducing the PFD? A low price environment is not justification to upend and replace an entire economy…with taxes. 

There are meetings going on,” said House Speaker Mike Chenault, “maybe not a lot of things in the public, but there are conversations going on around the building.” That was in reference to the fact that Alaska lawmakers Wednesday made no public progress on either of the two big problems still facing them on their third day of overtime. The bills are all stuck in the House and Senate finance committees. But the Senate committee didn’t meet Wednesday, and the House committee held hearings on the Legislature’s major criminal justice reform initiative, Senate Bill 91, instead. The Senate, according to Senator Anna MacKinnon , is “ready to act” when the House solves the oil tax problem. But her chamber doesn’t plan to bring Walker’s tax bills forward, she added. On the potential special session, Sen. MacKinnon said it will be, “about taxing Alaskans.”

The Senate passed Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s energy bill — the first in nearly a decade — loaded with provisions to bolster renewable energy and clear the way for natural gas out of the Alaska. The bill includes a smattering of widely palatable energy provisions, designed to extend across the aisle, supporting renewable energy, including hydropower, weatherizing homes and speeding the permitting process for liquefied natural gas exports. Headlamp applauds Sen. Murkowski on continuing to secure America’s, and Alaska’s, energy future.

 

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First Reads

Cheap oil creates a new frontier in Alaska—making ends meet
CNBC, Scott Cohn, April 21, 2016

Legislative leaders say budget work is progressing behind scenes
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, April 20, 2016

AJOC EDITORIAL: Gov’s union contract is a joke, and so is GOP response
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, April 20, 2016

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Shut Down After Pump Fire Near Coldfoot
NBC, Alex Johnson, April 21, 2016

Murkowski’s energy bill passes Senate after months of delays
Alaska Dispatch News, Eric Martinson, April 20, 2016