Governor Sean Parnell today signed a supplemental proclamation that removes oil and gas production taxes from consideration by the Alaska Legislature during this special session. The Senate must still take up gasline legislation, House Bill 9, for the Legislature to complete its work in the special session.
"Stemming Alaska's production decline and growing our economy through increased oil production is extremely important, both now and in the long term," Governor Parnell said. "But there are some in the Senate who believe that Alaska's oil production decline is a myth. This is an irresponsible disregard for the facts and Alaskans deserve much better.
"Given the hardline position of some in the Senate against increasing production from both existing and new fields, the Senate appears incapable of passing comprehensive oil tax reform," Governor Parnell said. "Accordingly, I am removing consideration of oil and gas taxes at this time.
"I want to thank the many Alaskans who fought for their jobs, future, and families, and who will continue to stand for maximizing Alaska's resource for Alaskans rather than leaving it in the ground."
The Senate should now move expeditiously on gasline legislation in HB 9. The bill carries long-term statewide benefits, both for rural and urban areas, through new energy, more jobs, and greater state revenue. HB 9 remains bottled up in the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee. Changes to HB 9 suggested to senators by the sponsor, Speaker Mike Chenault, will ensure the state can move forward to unlock natural gas for Alaskans' benefit.
Executive powers under Alaska's Constitution are broad. Where the governor has the authority to convene a special session and set the agenda by limiting it to any topic, he also has the authority to withdraw a topic from consideration. This is particularly true where the Legislature has the corresponding power to call itself back into special session to consider the same topic should they desire.