Not making the grade. Governor Bill Walker shot back at business groups after receiving a D grade on his Alaska Business Card jointly deliver by the Alaska Chamber, the Resource Development Council, Prosperity Alaska, and the Alliance. Specifically, Walker was criticized for “success on just one of eight reasonably attainable policy priorities.” Walker’s eight “assignments” included cutting government spending; establishing a framework to draw on part of the earnings of the Permanent Fund for government services; keeping the state’s oil and gas tax system intact; advancing the original Alaska LNG Project concept; prioritizing long-term investments and generally promoting policies to grow the Alaska’s private sector. The only topic the governor received positive marks for was proposing the Alaska Permanent Fund Protection Act.
Home grown hero. According to reports, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is a top contender for Secretary of the Interior. “Energy is my baby,” she said in an interview with CNN in September 2015. “Oil and gas and minerals – those things that God has dumped on this part of the earth for mankind’s use instead of us relying on unkind foreign nations for us to import their resources.”
Chantal Walsh, of Anchorage, will join the Department of Natural Resources at the end of November. She will replace former division director Corri Feige who stepped down in October. Walsh is leaving the firm she helped found, Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska. There, she consulted on projects for BP, Unocal, and Chevron, according to her resume. “As a lifelong Alaskan and oil industry career professional, I look forward to joining the Division of Oil and Gas and working with DNR, industry, and other state leaders to effectively and cooperatively manage our world-class oil and gas resources,” Walsh said in a press release released yesterday.
New Democrat led majority in the House. 17 Democrats, along with three Republicans and two Independents have formed a new coalition majority in the Alaska House of Representatives. Democrat Rep. Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham will be the Speaker of the House, while former minority leader Rep. Chris Tuck of Anchorage will be the new majority leader. Anchorage Democrat Reps. Geran Tarr and Andy Josephson will be the co-chairs of the House Resources Committee. On Wednesday, the coalition had announced its co-chairs of the House Finance Committee – Homer Republican Rep. Paul Seaton and Nome Democrat Rep. Neal Foster.
Headlamp listened intently to the new majority’s press conference on Wednesday. We hoped to hear a new vision to help lead Alaska through these difficult times. Unfortunately, we only heard more of the same. To solve Alaska’s fiscal crisis the new majority promised a broad-based tax, a restructuring of the Permanent Fund and capping of the PFD. Last year, Rep. Seaton, who now chairs the House Finance Committee, introduced a bill that would have instituted a state-wide income tax of 15% of Alaskans federal tax liability.
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Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, November 10, 2016
International Business Times, Juliana Rose Pignataro, November 10, 2016
Alaska Public Radio News, Rashah McChesney, November 10, 2016
Bloomberg, Josh Eidelson, November 10, 2016
Alaska Dispatch News, Nat Herz, November 10, 2016