This week in Juneau, Alaskans can speak up about the economic consequences of declining oil production. Alaskans from all corners of the state have the chance to testify before the Senate TAPS Throughput Committee.
Here's what we know: Alaskans' oil drives the economic engine of our state. Oil exploration and development fuels our private sector economy. And oil revenue provides nearly 90 percent of Alaska's unrestricted government funds. That money helps fund our schools, energy and infrastructure projects, ferries, and health clinics.
While Alaska's treasury reaps the benefit of high oil prices today, the status quo also guarantees production decline. We need to better protect Alaskans against this decline and focus our tax regime on production.
If we do nothing and continue with the status quo, we will be left with fewer jobs and far fewer opportunities for Alaskans.
My bill to increase oil production and attract new investment is centered on four principles: first, it's fair to Alaskans; second, it encourages new production; third, it's simple, restoring balance to the system; and fourth, it makes Alaska competitive for the long term.
As I said in my State of the State address, if the Legislature passes legislation that meets these four principles, they won't have to ask for my answer, because they will get my signature.
I urge all Alaskans to make your voices heard by legislators this coming week. This is your first opportunity to let the Legislature know what turning around the decline in oil production means to you and your family, and to share your vision for Alaska's future.
The Senate Special Committee on Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) Throughput is going to be taking public testimony on Tuesday, Jan. 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and again on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on how you can testify, call the Juneau Legislative Information Office at 907-465-4648.
By making positive changes this session, we have an opportunity to better protect Alaskans and grow Alaska's economy.