Alaskans are one step closer to realizing more economic opportunity through increased oil production.
Last week, the Alaska Senate passed Senate Bill 21, legislation to increase our competitiveness and grow our economy. This is welcome news for Alaskans, especially those who care about the long-term prospects for our state.
Although oil production in Alaska has been declining over the past decade, SB 21 offers an Alaska comeback in oil production. The Senate-passed measure will put us on a path to reclaiming our standing as America's greatest oil-producing state.
As Senator Cathy Giessel said on the Senate floor, "This is about the progress of Alaska, our private-sector economy, and its potential growth."
I commend her and her colleagues in the Senate who voted for Alaska's future, not status quo decline.
We know Alaskans are ready to start competing again with other jurisdictions that have eclipsed our state in oil production and industry investment.
Our goal is to ensure every Alaskan has opportunity. Opportunity for a job or opportunity to start a business. We know the prosperity of our state's economy is directly tied to the strength of Alaska's oil production.
As the House considers the Senate-passed legislation, I urge representatives to keep the framework intact. Improvements can be made, but they should be made by adjusting existing dials and levers in the bill, not complicating an otherwise simple proposal.
I will continue to weigh any changes against my four guiding principles: one, that any change must be fair to Alaskans; two, it must encourage new production; three, it's got to be simple, so it restores balance to the system; and four, it must be competitive and durable.
You know, we have made remarkable progress this session. But we will not stop until we have achieved our goal. We will create a tax climate for more oil production that benefits all Alaskans.
Now is the time to buckle down and keep our focus on improving Alaska for generations to come. The sooner we act, the sooner Alaskans see new oil flowing through the pipeline.
Thanks so much.