Anchorage- Alaska Democratic Party Chair Casey Steinau applauds the leadership of Representative Geran Tarr, co-chair of the House Resources Committee and member of the Democrat-led House Majority, on her introduction of HB 111.  This legislation aims to fix a tax scheme that made the State of Alaska responsible for massive corporate welfare payouts to multi-billion-dollar oil companies through the hotly contested SB 21 two years ago. 

“HB 111 is a great start in remedying our current fiscal crisis, and we applaud Rep. Tarr for her leadership,” said Chair Steinau.  “This is especially helpful following two legislative sessions dominated by procrastination and distracting personal legislation by Republicans in the state House and Senate majorities.  We continue to advocate for a responsible and balanced approach to fixing Alaska’s budget crisis. 

“This legislation reopens a dialogue that has been nonstop among Alaskans since the price of oil crashed in 2014.  Due to provisions under SB 21, by the end of the summer, the state will owe over $1 billion in corporate welfare to Big Oil.  These subsidies have not yet been paid due to ongoing budget constraints, but soon it will be time to pay the piper.  If we don’t do something now, the problem will persist and the recession will get worse.

“You might remember that most Republicans in the House and Senate voiced overwhelming support for SB 21, which provided these enormous corporate welfare payouts to Big Oil.  Several Republicans in the House and Senate are employed by, or their spouses are employed by, oil industry corporations:  Senator Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage) is a full-time Investment Recovery Coordinator for ConocoPhillips; Peter Micciche (R-Kenai), the Kenai Facility manager for ConocoPhillips, is an influential member of the Senate Resources Committee; and the husband of Senate Resources Chair Cathy Geissel (R-Anchorage) is a contractor with deep ties to the petroleum industry, and disclosure documents state that he earns between $200,000 and $500,000 per year in the industry.  It is no wonder that the SB 21 corporate welfare giveaway sailed through with so many Republican oil industry friends in the state legislature.

“Yet again, this is an example of the differences between the two political parties in Alaska.  Democrats in the legislature will not put corporate greed ahead of everyday, hard-working Alaskans who continue to be asked to do more to tackle our state’s fiscal crisis. Republicans continue to seek huge payouts to their friends in the oil industry.  Perhaps the piper will lead those oil industry rats out of the Capitol building at some point soon.”

For further information, please contact Katie Bruggeman at 258-3050.