Anchorage Democrats Offer ‘Emergency Fix’ For Alaska’s Oil Tax System

Sen. Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Les Gara present their proposed oil tax fix. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)
Sen. Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Les Gara present their proposed oil tax fix. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

With just three weeks left in the legislative session, a pair of Anchorage Democrats are offering what they describe as an “emergency fix” to Alaska’s oil tax system.

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Sen. Bill Wielechowski and Rep. Les Gara say they would like to see the tax floor raised from 4 percent to 12.5 percent and certain credits ended in order to bring in more revenue
to the state.

The state’s oil tax structure has been debated exhaustively ever since the TransAlaska pipeline came online. Last year, a referendum to repeal the tax legislation pushed by former Gov. Sean Parnell failed narrowly.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Wielechowski argued that adjusting the oil tax system was fundamentally different from efforts to weaken marijuana legislation, noting that the state Constitution has separate rules for referenda and initiatives. He added that the current regime has been given enough time since the referendum to work.

“It’s a failed system. It’s something that needs to be fixed. And I would respectfully say it’s apples and oranges,” Wielechowski said.

Last week, Gov. Bill Walker told the Associated Press that he has no current plans to revisit the oil production tax.