With less than a week left in session, the Legislature is on track to pass Senate Bill 21, legislation to increase oil production and create more opportunity for Alaskans.
There is no doubt that Alaska is resource rich below the ground; it's our above-ground tax system that hampers production.
When it comes to the current tax structure, the facts speak for themselves. Alaskan oil production is declining at nearly 6 percent per year. We have fallen behind both Texas and North Dakota, and risk falling behind California if we continue to accept status quo decline. We need a good Alaska comeback.
Alaskans from across the state have made their voices heard. We have heard from hundreds of you, including small business owners, employees, parents, and teachers; you all have talked about what oil tax reform means to you and your families. Most Alaskans support Senate Bill 21 because they recognize that more production and more investment will mean more for our future.
From the outset, our commitment has been to pass legislation that meets my four guiding principles:
Tax reform must be fair to Alaskans.
Tax reform must encourage new production.
Any tax changes, they've got to be simple, so they restore the balance to the system.
Tax reform has to be competitive and durable.
Independent experts have testified about the impact of Senate Bill 21: It will better protect the State at low oil prices, while ensuring we are competitive at high oil prices. The companies have testified that Senate Bill 21 in its current form will lead to greater investment and more production.
Senate Bill 21 strikes the right balance to ensure all Alaskans benefit over the long haul, no matter the price of oil.
We are on the cusp of ensuring a prosperous future for generations of Alaskans. The Legislature has worked incredibly hard over the past few months analyzing these issues.
The time to act and create a future of opportunity for Alaskans is here. Legislators now have the opportunity to lay the groundwork for that Alaska oil comeback.
Let's get started by passing Senate Bill 21.