Failure of oil tax credit bill would serve election purpose



When Rep. Scott Kawasaki is serving as the Speaker of the House, you know things are off the rails in Juneau. Where Speaker Bryce Edgmon is off to is anyone’s guess.

But few members of the Democrat-run majority occupied their seats during today’s floor session, so nothing of substance could be accomplished.

Rep. Sam Kito of Juneau was off at an insurance conference.


Reps. Geran Tarr and Andy Josephson this week offered a version of House Bill 111 they knew was unacceptable to the Senate. They added a provision into the bill that was so onerous that it send a chill down the spine of every oil executive in the state.

[Read: House majority has new idea: Kill oil industry]

But talks go on between conference committee leaders, and there’s still a good chance that the Legislature will pass a version of HB 111 that ends the cash credit program, Sen. Cathy Giessel told the Mike Porcaro radio show yesterday.


Gov. Bill Walker could signal to the House that the only bill he needs to sign this minute is the ending of the cash credit program. The Senate version of HB 111 does that and backdates the end of the program to July 1, 2017. If getting a more stable fiscal plan is his goal, then this is a game of yards and and ending cashable credits would be a crucial first down.

Rep. Geran Tarr and Andy Josephson added provisions that essentially used this piece of legislation to force negotiations next year on reworking the entire oil tax program…again. They are seeking profound changes this year, too, in their version. Are they in communication with the governor?

Why Walker has chosen to remain silent on this critical legislation, which he asked the Legislature to deal with in special session, has to do with his own re-election bid. It’s possible his Chief of Staff Scott Kendall has told him to stay out of it, because every time he tries to broker deals in the Legislature he gets his nose bloodied.


In addition to costing Alaska $1 million a day, a collapse of HB 111 would signal the intent of Democrats to use oil taxes as a dog whistle for left-of-center voters in the 2018 General Election.

Knowing that the oil industry workers have left the state in droves, Democrats would use the changing electoral demographics to their advantage and put forth an initiative that appeals to the greatest possible number of voters, under the same banner as they have used before: “It’s Our Oil.”

That would help them as they try to flip the Senate to Democrat control, and also win the race for governor for either Gov. Bill Walker, a nonpartisan brought into office by the Alaska Democrat Party, or Mark Begich, a true-blue Democrat.

Many capitol observers believe that the Democrat-run House majority doesn’t want HB 111 to pass, because somewhere out there, Gov. Walker associate Robin Brena or Jim Lottsfeldt of MidnightSunAK fame is setting up an independent expenditure group to push such an initiative.

Is Gov. Walker quietly supporting this gambit?

The downside for Alaskans is that this would cause oil tax credits to accumulate over the next year or two, severely curtailing the state’s fiscal options.


Salmon and development. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will, by Monday, July 17, issue his decision on whether to certify the Stand for Salmon petition and place that question to voters on the November, 2018 ballot.

The proposal calls for an update to laws pertaining to any development in Alaska and would be devastating for mines like Donlin, Fort Knox, and any other mine proposed or operating in the Western Alaska watershed of Bristol Bay. It would also be detrimental to the private property rights of all Alaskans.

The title of the initiative is “An act providing for the protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat.”


If the legislative session ended before 120 days next year, those measures would go on the August primary ballot, but it is likely that Democrats will want them on the General Election ballot in order to bring their voters out. If this chain of events unfolds, we can expect a protracted legislative season next year with special session(s) dragging on into late May, at the very least.

This is because state law does not allow a ballot initiative within 90 days of a legislative session.  So, by being in session in late May, the ballot initiative would be pushed onto the Fall general election ballot, where it could help Democrats the most.


It has not been passed and will require another special session. The governor will not want to leave money on the table, because the State draws significant federal dollars through the capital budget process, so expect an official call for it over the weekend, although the governor might give legislators a few weeks off.

Of course, the House and Senate could call themselves back into session immediately and deal with it.

SPOHNHOLZ GOES TO WASHINGTON: Is it true Gov. Bill Walker and Rep. Jason Grenn, both nonpartisan politicians, were joined at the Centrist Project media event in Washington, D.C. by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz this week? Spohnholz is a Democrat representing East Anchorage. Is she queueing up to run for lieutenant governor as an independent?



  1. Gov. Walker needs to be ex-governor Walker, he has to go. And it’s way past time to move the capital out of Juneau. It’s not easy to hold people accountable when you cannot get to them.

    • You obviously have an internet connection and your Representative and Senator’s email addresses and phone numbers are easily accessible on the State’s site. What would you do if you could “get to them”, shake them or something?

  2. The PDF theft is the Big election Issue. Most people don’t care about the oil tax issue. But the money taken from their pockets and their children is what they will be paying attention to. Senator Mike Dunleavy had the plan for the Budget this year and we in District 7 supported it along with the rest of the Valley Representatives and Senators. The rest of the Republican Senate Majority don’t represent the Republican platform and need to step down or get back on the program before we lose the state.

  3. Alaska doesn’t have a budget problem; Alaska has bribery problems, and gullible legislator problems. Alaska allows oil companies to extract fair payment for their services from net oil production revenues. Additionally, they keep 90% of our ownership equity; equity other owner states keep. At today’s prices, the big three are making over $17 per barrel plus cost of production and delivery from our oil. (See ConocoPhillips’ quarterly reports ) That’s about $9 Million per day, or $3.2 billion per year. BP and Exxon have agreements, with less friendly governments, to produce their oil for cost of production and delivery, plus $1 per barrel. $3.76 per barrel would exceed their international average net profits. If that was what the Legislature was to allow them, Alaska would receive an additional $2.5 billion this year. Ten years ago I helped the FBI bust six legislators for taking bribes to give Alaska’s oil away. For six years the oil companies lost control and Alaska saved up $16 Billion; that’s the savings this Legislature is once again reaching into to cover the deficit; savings now depleted because Alaska’s legislators are once again giving our oil away. Why would Alaska’s legislators agree to pay four and one half times more than a fair market payment for production services? There is only one logical answer.

    • I doubt your sources for those numbers Ray – if they were true the oil companies would overwhelm Alaska with development. As it is, production is continuing to decline here while North Dakota is booming. Fill the Pipe! That’s where the State’s income comes from – the people cannot and will not support income tax and other tax schemes.

  4. In my “I Love Me” file I have a flyer distributed by the Alaska State Employees Association in ’88 or ’89 when they were negotiating for their first contract with the State and things weren’t going so well for them. I wasn’t actually the State’s chief negotiator, my boss was, and her boss was a political appointee that to my mind had made ASEA’s ascension to the most powerful union in Alaska possible. But, in Alinskyite fashion, they chose to fix and personalize the dispute and they chose me because, first, I wasn’t as well-connected as my boss, and, second, I was the one who was most often their adversary in arbitrations and labor board hearings – and I won a lot. So, I was the face of the enemy. My, then, wife-to-be was accosted in checkout lines in Juneau because she and I were dating; it gets personal in a small town.

    This was an admonition to the bargaining team and wavering members that they needed to buck up and continue the fight; ASEA said to their team, or really to their members, “Art Chance is playing chess and you’re playing Parcheesi.” Well, that was flattering, and in those days I was a pretty good chess player, but the reality was that I and my coworkers were playing law and economics and ASEA, as was their wont, was playing stamping their feet and screaming “We don’t like it.”

    I’m too far away to see the whole board so I missed a move in this game. I thought and published here the notion that Walker had discovered that he was Governor rather than Vince Beltrami’s house boy and had gone off the reservation with the call for only the operating budget for the Special Session. Now I see that move was to leave HB 111 on the table. What that means is that the communists, excuse me, Democrats and their running dogs, excuse me, false flag Republican allies, are willing to spend a million dollars a day of the People’s money for the next year and more to enhance their electoral chances in ’18.

    They can put this and some other initiatives that bring out the young, poor, and stupid on the ballot and try to get a majority in the Senate so that the Politburo, excuse me, the Legislature is completely in their hands. The brass ring here for the Beltrami Junta is getting their hands on the Permanent Fund as the way to finance government operations. We don’t need no stinking oil companies; we’re trust fund babies living off the largesse of the stock market and compounded interest. We don’t have to ask the bitter clingers in the citizenry anymore; we have the money. It’s a good plan, and I don’t see anyone in the opposition doing anything but playing Parcheesi.

  5. If the CBC plan was to use the SB 21 and HB 111 to kill off most all smaller oil & gas explorer in Alaska and leave Alaskans broke, then BULLSEYE!!

    If they pass HB 111 then maybe it is time to elect a new Governor and a new Legislature that will distribute a big part of the Permanent Fund money and most all the state land with mineral rights to all Alaskans!

    This may give each Alaskan more then $80,000 per person and over 80 acres of land by 2018 and bring back exploration of these lands with better managers of the land and the money, “you the NEW landowner”!

    If they pass HB 111 then clean house so Alaskans can have real property rights and less corruption in state Government.

    It is it time to put the people first?

    Is it time to bring back the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence because we feel this Government can’t be trusted with the money or the the oil & gas lands, give it back to the people now!


  6. Walker committed to not run for a second term when campaigning. He said it many times. Then he got off to a horrible start when he appointed a man to the Board of fish who is now presently awaiting trial for ten counts of PFD .fraud. And he has never recovered. And when he unilaterally took $1,000 of each residents PFD last year he sealed his fate. He is unelectable! He will not be forgiven for his actions. People will be reminded that when he was taking their money he was spending some of it on his gas pipeline dream. And asking the people to pay even more by passing a state income tax. His outster cannot come to soon.

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