Oil industry players made their pitch to the House Resources Committee against further oil tax changes in the last days of February, which included direct criticisms of the Legislature’s new oil and gas policy consultant.
Alaska Oil and Gas Association CEO Kara Moriarty said in testimony that she found the characterization by Castle Gap Advisors Managing Partner Rich Ruggiero that industry advocates rely on predictable rhetoric to oppose potential tax increases to be “insulting,” while noting of late most governments have offered incentives as oil and gas prices have remained low.
In his introductory presentation to the committee Feb. 20 Ruggiero, a longtime industry engineer turned consultant who was employed by Gov. Sarah Palin’s administration during the development of the since-repealed ACES tax policy, said oil company representatives “routinely deploy the top three detractor themes” that increased government take upsets financial stability, makes a regime less competitive in attracting investment and will put jobs at risk.
Suffice to say the introduction did not go over well with minority caucus Republicans on the committee who are continuously working to poke holes in the oil tax bill. House Bill 111 was proposed by the Resource co-chairs and Anchorage Democrats, Reps. Geran Tarr and Andy Josephson.