DUNLEAVY AND HAWKINS FIRM, BUT WALKER WON’T RULE OUT HIGHER OIL TAXES
It was posed as a simple yes-no question at the Alaska Oil and Gas Association conference’s “Great Debate” on Thursday: Will you or will you not increase taxes on the oil industry?
Both Mike Dunleavy and Scott Hawkins said they would leave the current oil tax structure alone if elected governor.
But when it came to panelist Gov. Bill Walker, he did not answer the question with a yes or no.
Instead, Walker waffled: “My focus is on production. My interest is not on changing the tax structure. I don’t make absolutes. I have no intention to and I don’t think we need to but … The world changes … I’m all about production.” There were a lot of sentence fragments in his answer.
Walker was more firm on his views during his 2014 campaign, when he wrote about his “intentions” in the Anchorage Daily News (then called the Alaska Dispatch News): “I have no intention to implement a statewide tax or paying for state government by reducing Permanent Fund dividend checks. If we properly develop our natural resources and put in place a sustainable budget that should not be necessary.”
In 2014, Walker wrote an op-ed explaining why he wanted to repeal SB 21, the oil tax reform that passed in 2013 that was challenged by Democrats with a ballot-box referendum (which failed).
“Should ‘Vote No’ prevail in the primary, as governor, I will follow the wishes of the voters on Proposition 1 … I do not intend to offer changes to SB21.”
But during his three years in office, Walker attempted to dismantle SB 21 — oil tax reform — by introducing tax-raising legislation. Here are a few of the many taxes proposed by Walker in his New Sustainable Alaska Plan in 2016:
Oil and Gas Tax Credit Reform
- HB 247 – Summary of Passed Legislation (pdf)
- SB 130 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
- HB 247 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
Mining License Tax
Motor Fuel Tax
Cruise Ship Tax
During the Thursday debate, when Mike Dunleavy listed the litany of failures of the Walker Administration, Gov. Walker responded by saying he didn’t like the hand he’d been dealt, but he’d done his best.