Alaska House Democrats introduce oil-tax bill, sparking heated debate
JUNEAU — Alaska House Democrats unveiled their proposal Wednesday to raise oil taxes and limit cash subsidies and oil-tax credits, officially launching a legislative debate over how much more the industry should contribute to filling the state's massive deficit.
The oil industry already accounts for the majority of Alaska's unrestricted revenue, and lawmakers last year reduced subsidies for companies developing natural gas projects near Anchorage, as well as slicing tax deductions for new North Slope oil.
But as lawmakers face a $3 billion deficit, the House's majority coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans is pushing for more changes, arguing that oil company concessions would help ensure fairness as part of a broader deficit-reduction plan.
The coalition is also expected to ask Alaskans to pitch in themselves, through another bill set for introduction Friday, that will include an income tax and a restructuring of the Permanent Fund dividend.