Morning Headlamp – What the Government gives it takes from others

High Costs, Low Prices – Cenovus, one of Canada’s biggest energy producers, has agreed to buy some of the oil sands and natural gas assets of ConocoPhillips in western Canada for $13.3 billion. In after-hours trading, ConocoPhillips shares rose 6%, and Cenovus shares fell more than 8%.

What Government Gives it Must First Take Away – The Alaska House Majority Coalition who drafted the revised version of the Alaska House’s income tax proposal says it would fill a deficit that would still be more than $500 million even after adopting a state Senate proposal to restructure the Permanent Fund and slice dividends in half. But Alaska Chamber officials argue that the impact of the income tax proposal — which includes a new tax on trusts and estates — would hurt businesses badly enough that they’d rather hold out for deeper spending cuts and a potential rebound in the price of oil, which could help fill Alaska’s deficit. The legislation, House Bill 115, is projected to balance the state budget in two years by pairing the income tax with separate provisions to manage the Permanent Fund like an endowment — setting dividends at $1,250 and using the rest of the fund’s investment earnings to pay for government services.

Jensen takes Gara to the woodshed. Headlamp is pleased to see at least one journalist in Alaska is paying attention to Rep. Les Gara’s attempts to mislead the public on oil taxes. In a pointed editorial in the Alaska Journal of Commerce editor Andrew Jensen recounted an exchange between Rep. Gara and Dan Seckers, tax counsel for ExxonMobil. Jensen concluded his piece, “It’s no wonder Alaska can’t come up with a coherent tax policy when leading members of the Legislature like Gara can’t or won’t attempt to get the basics right.” Headlamp couldn’t agree more and wishes other journalists, fellow caucus members and the public would start calling Rep. Gara out on his blatant and repeated attempts to mislead the public in the oil tax debate.

Deadline Looms – More than half a million applications have been filed with the state for this year’s Permanent Fund dividend checks – but Alaskans who haven’t filed have only until Friday to do so. Thursday morning, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division’s website counted 516,567 applications filed online. That showing – markedly ahead of the pace Alaskans were setting in mid-February – is an improvement over this time last year.

 

First Reads

Alaska’s income tax fight heats up, with attack ad targeting pro-tax lawmakers

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, March 30, 2017

Alaska senators introduce bill to clean up America’s cluttered coasts

Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, March 30, 2017

No excuses: Friday is the deadline for procrastinating PFD applicants

Alaska Dispatch News, Chris Klint, March 30, 2017

AJOC EDITORIAL: Gara strikes out over tax rates

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, March 29, 2017

Commission sticks with 10 days for comment on fracking
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, March 29, 2017

What is the Arctic Council and how does it work?
KTOO, Matt Miller, March 29, 2017

Will The Trump Administration Spur US Oil & Gas Development?
Forbes, The Baker Institute, March 29, 2017

ConocoPhillips sells oil and gas assets to Cenovus for $13.3 billion
Reuters, Nia Williams and Ethan Lou, March 29, 2017