Hearings opened in the Senate Tuesday morning on a bill to separate oil taxes from gas taxes — addressing the risk that – taken together — the two resources reduce the total revenue to the state. Economist Roger Marks told the Senate Finance Committee that the tax value of oil far exceeds the tax value of gas. Calculations from legislative and administration economists put the cost of combining the resources at nearly two Billion dollars a year when gas and oil prices are similar to the current market conditions. Separating the two taxes has solid support in the Finance Committee, and strong support throughout the entire Senate. However, there is objection to “decoupling” — as it’s called. House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula of Juneau says there’s reason to worry that dealing with the bill will turn into a complete re-write of the state’s tax regime.
Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau
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