Power The Future: Third Special Session Ends in Alaska Legislature, with Increased Oil Taxes Still a Threat

The stalemate over how to balance a state operating budget and pay a Permanent Fund Dividend will reach its 187th day today, as the Alaska Legislature prepares to gavel out of its third, 30-day special session without any visible solutions.

When the original, 121-day session expired back in May, there was little consensus over how to legally pay for the upcoming year’s state government services.  As always, there was a block of anti-oil legislators who thought that strafing the industry for additional revenues was the answer; thankfully, though, the vast majority of their peers understood the impact doing so would have on Alaska.

Now, with 30-day, 6-day and 30-day special sessions in the books, and zero impactful progress made on a long-term, sustainable fiscal plan, there are numerous revenue ideas being floated around, including one that would dramatically increase royalty payments from oil and gas extraction.

Until there is clarity on a FY2022 fiscal solution, it seems improbable that the Legislature can tackle a long-term plan.  Nonetheless, the environment-over-everything-else caucus has continued to press its anti-development, anti-jobs agenda throughout, and will certainly continue if future special sessions are called. Power The Future will remain vigilant with our continued education and advocacy efforts, as anything that jeopardizes an industry that employs nearly a quarter of Alaska’s private sector workforce – directly and indirectly – deserves to be challenged.

Originally published September 14, 2021 on powerthefuture.com