Tax Credit Fiasco Shames Alaska
Shannyn Moore, Alaska Daily News
In an apparent bid to run our government more like the federal government — or, for that matter, Venezuela — the Alaska State House this week passed Gov. Bill Walker’s bill to issue a billion dollars of bonds to pay for oil tax credits. Let’s be clear about these oil tax credits — the payment of these tax credits is purely at the discretion of the Legislature and the Walker administration. That said, we should pay our debts, and contrary to what some may have said, we have been paying these oil tax credits, every single year, according to a statutory formula. In fact, when we were overflowing with oil revenue, we actually paid above and beyond our statutory duty.
Then the price of oil crashed.
When we could no longer afford to make carte blanche payments of these credits, Gov. Walker did the politically popular (at the time) thing and vetoed oil tax credits down to their statutory levels. So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, even though the statute is crystal clear about the state’s obligation to make these payments, the oil company bankers don’t like the fact that they aren’t getting paid as fast as they would like.