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Friday, August 17, 2018
HomeBriefsGovernors debate: Two no’s and a maybe on oil tax hike

Governors debate: Two no’s and a maybe on oil tax hike

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.

Hawkins

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

  1. HB 247 – Summary of Passed Legislation (pdf)
  2. SB 130 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  3. HB 247 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Mining License Tax

  1. SB 137 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 253 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Motor Fuel Tax

  1. SB 132 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 249 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Income Tax

  1. SB 134 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 250 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Alcohol Tax

  1. SB 131 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 248 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Tobacco Tax

  1. SB 133 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 304 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Cruise Ship Tax

  1. SB 136 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 252 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

Fisheries Tax

  1. SB 135 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)
  2. HB 251 – Read the Bill as Transmitted (pdf)

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.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Walker didn’t like the hand he’d been dealt, but he’d done his best? Sorry Gov, your best wasn’t good enough and if that’s your response to the many failures of your administration, that’s not good enough either. Might I suggest you run for an office that your best might be good enough, I hear they need a dog catcher in Wrangell and they don’t care if any dogs get caught ever.

  • Even as I strongly disagree with Walker’s view of economics – that taxing everything and everybody to hold government harmless from the ups and downs of the private sector somehow works – I would be slightly empathetic if he wasn’t such a GD liar! He says whatever he apparently believes will get him elected. He has done it so much that I really blame the Alaska media as much as I blame anyone. When a Republican stands up and gives facts and numbers the media try to parse that information to bring uncertainty, but when Walker says one thing and does the other time after time we hear and read nothing about it. I expect that from Public Broadcasting, but could we have some honest analysis from the Daily News, the Newsminer and the Empire, please? Honestly, if we didn’t have MustReadAlaska we would have an Alaska media that is entirely similar to what we see today in China and Russia.