Morning Headlamp: October 29, Legislative Special Session Day 6

The TransCanada buyout may be a foregone conclusion, but lawmakers are focused on the longer-term financial implications of the deal according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.  In the piece, reporter Tim Bradner notes that the next focus will be on a withdrawal agreement that Governor Walker has pushed for; Headlamp worries that the constant focus on a withdrawal agreement could be stalling progress on other key needs for AKLNG.

Tough words for the governor from the Alaska Journal of Commerce, which editorialized on his short-lived gas reserve tax proposal. Editor Andrew Jensen said of the tax gambit, “So once again, Walker caused a huge fuss over nothing, much the way he announced he would pursue a competing project to AK LNG this past March until the Legislature stopped him by taking his money away from the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.” Headlamp has been saying it’s going to take cooperation and coordination between all the partners to make that project happen; one of several rules of success for megaprojects such as Alaska LNG.

Permanent Fund changes on the way? Alaska Public Radio Network, KTUU, and KTOO covered reports that Governor Bill Walker and Attorney General Craig Richards will propose an overhaul of the way Alaska uses the Permanent Fund when he releases his budget later this year. The plan would turn the state’s various savings accounts into a kind of endowment, using their earnings to fund state operations. Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning, Attorney General Craig Richards said the goal is to stabilize state finances.  Not so fast, according to the Alaska Dispatch News which reported that lawmakers are saying it may take time for both them and the general public to digest Governor Bill Walker’s proposal to shift the focus of the Alaska Permanent Fund from paying dividends to using it to pay for some state operations.

The state economy continues to face headwinds. Alaska Dispatch News’ Pat Forgey covered the latest unemployment data, noting that through August and September, the state lost more than 1,000 jobs compared to the year before.  Of note – state economists admit that perceived state job losses might not be accurate and the only confirmed significant job losses are in the private sector.

First Reads of the Day

Gas tax shelved, buyout still on agenda

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Tim Bradner, October 28, 2015

Editorial: Producers let Walker save face in pulling gas tax
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, October 28, 2015

Alaska job losses continue, but unemployment drops as well

Alaska Dispatch News, Pat Forgey, October 28, 2015


Alaska Legislature News

Walker proposes Permanent Fund overhaul to cover deficit

Alaska Public Radio Network, Rachel Waldholz, October 28, 2015

Gas line officials endure tough questioning; Senate insists it’s not ‘torture’

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, October 28, 2015

Legislators want to study Permanent Fund plan, but say it has merit

Alaska Dispatch News, Rachel Waldholz, October 28, 2015

AJOC EDITORIAL: Producers let Walker save face in pulling gas tax

Alaska Journal of Commerce, Andrew Jensen, October 28, 2015

TransCanada official expresses support for gas project

Washington Times, Becky Bohrer, October 28, 2015

Lawmakers scrutinize risks, rewards of TransCanada buyout

Alaska Public Radio Network, Rachel Waldholz, October 28, 2015


Alaska LNG News

Neighbors weigh-in on the impacts of the Alaska LNG project

Peninsula Clarion, Rashah McChesney, October 28, 2015


Alaska Energy News

TransCanada ready for buyout

Peninsula Clarion, James Brooks, October 28, 2015

Morris News Service-Alaska/Juneau Empire

Ambler road work resumes; state closes on utility purchase

Alaska Journal, Elwood Brehmer, October 28, 2015

Utilities advancing transmission co., AEA refining cost estimates

Alaska Journal, Elwood Brehmer, October 28, 2015