Oil, Gas Industry Incentives Point of Discussion for Finance Committee

Steve Heimel, APRN – Anchorage

Thursday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is in a highly publicized hearing about federal taxes on the oil and gas industry and whether some incentives ought to be rolled back now that the industry is benefiting from such high prices for both crude oil and refined products.  Wednesday, a number of Democrats called the incentives “subsidies” and called for eliminating them to help fill the federal deficit.  Alaska’s Mark Begich and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu don’t agree with their fellow Democrats about that.

Republicans are pointing out that it would be discriminatory to lift the tax breaks for a single industry.  At issue are provisions that allow international companies to deduct foreign taxes and deductions for domestic manufacturing.

Meanwhile the Parnell administration is opposing lifting the tax breaks in hopes the industry will use the money to produce more oil in Alaska and stop the decrease in through-put in the Trans Alaska Pipeline.  Parnell has proposed a bill called the “North Slope Production Act” to eliminate regulatory hurdles to oil and gas activity on federal land and in federal waters in Alaska.

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