Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau
The Senate is working on getting final plans in order to have a new oil and gas tax bill before the public by the end of next week. President Gary Stevens has said he has no intention of working with the tax-rewrite bill the governor introduced – and the House passed.
A new study describes employment on the North Slope as a roller coaster. In a report to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Tuesday, Jim Calvin, President of the McDowell Group, presented the results of a study ordered by the Senate to determine what factors influence jobs in the oil patch.
Governor Parnell says he has not yet gotten answers from the C-E-O’s of Exxon, B-P and Conoco-Philips who met with him in Anchorage earlier this month. He revealed at his State of the State Speech last night that he had called each of them within the previous twenty four hours to tell them he expected them to make decisions on issues that were left hanging after their face-to-face meeting.
The Senate didn’t waste any time getting to work this year as the Finance Committee Wednesday opened its first hearing on the Governor’s bill dealing with the Scholarship program he has pushed since he first took office. The House approved it in the closing week of last year’s session.
The governor has put the entire weight of his office behind House Bill 110. That’s the plan that is estimated to cut oil company taxes by about $2-Billion a year. In return, the administration hopes to see more industry emphasis on exploration and production that would get more North Slope oil to market.
Legislators today released thirty new bills that will be formally read into the record when the House and Senate convene later this month. They will be added to those already on the table from last year’s legislative session. Covering a wide range of topics, some promise to be controversial – and some might be welcomed by the public.
One of those in attendance at the meeting was Anchorage Republican Mike Hawker. He says the event was a good beginning – not a policy meeting. He says the common message is that the state and the petroleum industry must be partners. He called the meeting a “mending of fences.”
Governor Parnell today presented his versions of the operating and capital projects budgets that the legislature will work on during next year’s session.