Morning Headlamp – Partnership between Pebble and ASRC; More tax criticism

Oil tax impasse. HB111 remains at the heart of the tax legislation sitting before the House – Senate Conference Committee. The dispute centers on whether to increase companies’ effective tax rates while scaling back deductions — steps favored by the House but opposed by the Senate. Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche, the majority leader, suggested in an interview Tuesday that the differences between the two chambers could sink the whole bill, in spite of the agreement that the cash payments should stop. “I think it would be a shame at this point to continue offering cash credits because of the extras that the House chooses to tag onto the bill. We would really like to end that program this year,” Micciche said. Headlamp agrees with Senator Micciche. The Governor, the Senate and the House all started the session by saying that cashable credits had to go. The Senate version of the bill accomplishes that. 

Pebble teams up with ASRC Energy Services. The Pebble project developer has teamed up with an Alaska Native corporation from the North Slope, drawing sharp opposition from project opponents in Bristol Bay who say the Pebble partner, an Arctic Slope Regional Corp. subsidiary, should stick to projects in its own backyard. The Pebble Partnership announced Tuesday that it has contracted with ASRC Energy Services Alaska, an ASRC subsidiary, to increase contracting opportunities for Alaska Native village corporations with land holdings near the project. Myrtle Anelon, a longtime board member with the village corporation from Iliamna, population 110, said Tuesday that she supports Pebble’s effort to involve local corporations, “Our young people don’t have jobs. They don’t have training. They need to have something.”

House tax plan draws ire from Outside. In a piece for TownHall, columnist Brian McNicoll criticized the Democrat-led plan in the House to close Alaska’s multibillion dollar budget gap through tax and regulation on the energy sector. According to McNicoll, “if Alaska wants to be an economic tiger again, it needs to make the hard choices on state spending now. It needs to get off the top of the dependency indices and get its residents back to work.” Energy has been, is right now, and will be where the jobs lie. A tax structure that penalizes producers will only hurt Alaska in the long run.

The House plan also drew criticism from columnist Seton Motley, who calls the plan to tax Alaska’s largest job producers both needless and pointless – especially as the House refuses to cut back on recent government spending increases.


First Reads

Pebble and Native corporation team up, frustrating mine opponents

Alaska Dispatch News, Alex DeMarban, June 14, 2017

Alaska Legislature’s impasse over oil taxes is jeopardizing a bipartisan consensus

Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, June 11, 2017

Not a Good Time to Go Soft on Spending, Alaska

TownHall, Brian McNicoll, June 14, 2017

The Power To (Over)Tax – Is The Power To Destroy

Red State, Seton Motley, June 14, 2017