Parnell, Democrats Agree on Goals Despite Differing Methods

Rosemarie Alexander, KTOO – Juneau

House Democrats agree with Governor Parnell that Alaska needs to attract new industry and bolster development, “without giving away billions to oil industry.”

House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula delivered her party’s response to the Governor’s speech last night. While the Democratic caucus has many of the same goals as Parnell, Kerttula says they would take a different route than the Republican Governor.  She’s not supporting his bill to reduce oil taxes.

“The governor’s legislation favors subsidies. We favor competition.  Giving money back to the oil companies at this point will not pay off for Alaskans. To increase competition, we need to level the playing field.  We need to give smaller companies, the Anadarko’s and Pioneers of the world, the opportunity to be able develop the new fields and have access to the pipeline,” Kerttula said.

Kerttula says the best way to attract business and industry to Alaska is to lower energy costs, provide a well-educated workforce, maintain current infrastructure and assure that people and their families have safe places to live.

Meanwhile, a new report from the state Revenue department says that repeated changes to Alaska’s oil and gas tax over  the last few years has made it difficult to draw any conclusions about the effect of the tax on industry investment decisions.

The report recommends the state continue to monitor its competitiveness with other oil and gas producers worldwide and change the tax scheme “as needed.”

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