The Morning Headlamp: Letters to Gov. Walker…tax plan will face “considerable opposition”…Gov. Walker sends his thanks…

“If we’re going to be in business and participate with business, why wouldn’t we act like business?” The Alaska Public Radio Network covered ongoing confidentiality concerns with the AKLNG megaproject. Though regulations are still in draft form, it is likely that much of the conversation in Juneau will revolve around the issue.  An AGDC board meeting scheduled for this Thursday, November 12th could bring clarity to the issue. 

Trouble ahead. According to Alaska Dispatch News coverage, Walker’s bid to implement a new tax plan faces considerable opposition from the Legislature, which has repeatedly rejected similar politically unappetizing proposals in the past. Financial experts say that fixing the state’s budget gap without taxes or diverting Permanent Fund earnings would require draconian measures. According to the Legislature’s own fiscal analyst, it’s impossible to close the $3 billion deficit without generating new revenues. The question is – what new revenues will Alaskans support?

Walker’s pen pals. The Alaska Dispatch News covered reports that former Governor Frank Murkowski, and several advisors sent a letter to Gov. Bill Walker, House Speaker Mike Chenault and Senate President Kevin Meyer with their concerns revolving around  the AKLNG project. In the authors’ opinion it is unreasonable to think that the state will get a return on an investment in the gas line project for 8-12 years. The authors recommend caution, as the state has a “record of losing” with regards to investments on gas line projects. The authors conclude by emphasizing that prudence dictates that the state avoid significant financial risk at a time when it needs to conserve state funds because of low oil prices and falling production.

Now that the legislature has made quick work of Governor Bill Walker’s Special Session, it is time to focus on the success of the AKLNG project. This megaproject represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one that Alaska can’t let slip by due to further uncertainty and distractions. Headlamp hopes that when parties vote on December 4th to approve a budget and a workplan for 2016 the project moves forward. 


First Reads

With Alaska LNG project, how secret is too secret?
Alaska Public Radio News, Rachel Waldholz, November 6, 2015

Lawmakers’ anti-tax pledge could block Walker’s fiscal plan — if they stand by it
Alaska Dispatch News, Nathaniel Herz, November 7, 2015

Two alternatives to Alaska risking big bucks on more gas line history
Alaska Dispatch News, November 7, 2015


Alaska LNG News

United Legislature grants control of state’s destiny
Alaska Dispatch News, Governor Bill Walker, November 7, 2015

Special Session: Why LNG pipeline decision could affect state’s long-term fiscal future
KTUU, Austin Baird, November 8, 2015


Alaska Legislature News

Tax options can shift burden away from Alaskans, legislative agency says
Alaska Dispatch News, Pat Forgey, November 8, 2015

Calming effect
Ketchikan Daily News, Nathaniel Herz, November 7, 2015

No surprise: Alaska can’t afford raises for its top officials, board says
Alaska Dispatch News, Pat Forgey, November 7, 2015


Alaska Energy News

A partial solution to rural Alaska energy challenges
Alaska Dispatch News, Brian Hirsch, November 7, 2015

Speculators Share Andy Hall’s Optimism That Oil Prices at Bottom
Fiarbanks News Miner,  Dan Murtaugh, November 8, 2015

The hole in Obama’s pipeline safety plan
Politico, Elana Schor and Andrew Restuccia, November 9, 2015