For Immediate Release: April 20th, 2014
Democratic Senators Dub Multi-Million Dollar Refinery Legislation This Year’s Giveaway
Seek to Rein in Costs and Ensure Alaskans Benefit
JUNEAU – Today Senators Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage), Hollis French (D-Anchorage) and Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) offered a series of amendments to House Bill 287 to make it more fiscally responsible and fair to Alaskans. The legislation offers up to $10 million of state assistance per year to any refinery operating in Alaska without any showing of need. The bill was proposed by the Governor and pushed through the session in ten days.
Senator Wielechowski proposed an amendment that would create a low-interest loan program rather than a straight-out tax credit or “grant.”
“Alaska faces a $2 billion budget deficit this year, and next year’s may be even larger,” said Senator Wielechowski. “When we’re cutting education and other critical state services for Alaskans, providing a loan rather than a tax reduction or cash payment seems much more prudent and fair to people of the state. “
Senator French proposed an amendment requiring a demonstration of financial need by any refinery seeking a grant or loan under the bill’s provisions.
“Any refinery requesting cash from Alaska should be required to demonstrate need,” said Senator French. “We’re not in a position to provide millions of dollars to private corporations without proof that our assistance is needed.”
Senator Berta Gardner offered three amendments. The first makes majority Alaskan ownership or an Alaska headquarters mandatory for any refinery to qualify for a credit. The second sunsets the refinery credit provisions after three years, allowing for an evaluation of their effectiveness and the third requires that education funding be annually increased in an amount equal to the refinery tax credits.
“The State of Alaska should not be in the business of providing tax credits to Outside corporations who will funnel their profits back to Texas and elsewhere,” stated Senator Gardner. “In addition, we need to keep our priorities straight. Surely we should invest as much new annually funding in our own kids as in refineries that may already be extremely profitable.”
Senator Wielechowski offered two additional amendments to outlaw gasoline price gouging in Alaska and add $250 to all Alaskans’ PFDs any year in which a multi-million dollar refinery credit is issued.
“I would rather give state resources to individual Alaskans than fatten the bottom line of an already profitable refinery. In these times of high fuel prices, my price gouging amendment would ensure Alaskans are protected at the gas pump and when they purchase heating fuel ,” said Senator Wielechowski.
To view a complete list of amendments, click here:
For more information, contact Michelle Sydeman at (907) 465-6881.