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Alaska Lawmakers Set to End Cash Subsidies for Oil Companies

Earlier this week, the Anchorage Daily News (May 17, Herz) reports, the Alaska Senate approved a House proposal to repeal a cash-subsidy program for oil companies. However, debate continues between the two chambers over what to do about the subsidies the state already owes but has yet to pay. The GOP-majority Senate wants to spend approximately $360 million to pay off some of the oil-company claims projected to surpass $1 billion by 2018. The largely Democratic House majority is proposing to pay only $37 million, with some members criticizing the Senate for paying oil companies during a time of austerity. Legislators created the oil-tax subsidy in 2007, hoping to entice new companies and competition to the state's Alaska oil industry. "The program had enthusiastic, bipartisan support when oil prices were high and the state had extra money to spend," recalls the newspaper.

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