Fair share? Not
Alaska’s Democratic lawmakers love to say the North Slope oil industry is not paying its “fair share,” to the state, but whatever that amount might be appears to be some sort of state secret. They simply cannot come up with a figure.
We are proud to report that, as we continue our lengthy search for exactly how much the oil industry in Alaska should pay the state – what that elusive “fair share” should be – we now know for certain what it is not. That is progress of a sort.
The Alaska Journal of Commerce, in an excellent editorial, points out that BP’s profit for last year in Alaska was $85 million. ConocoPhillips’ was $265 million. All that adds up to $350 million. Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, describes the amount as “gigantic.”
But the flip side – Democrats never want to talk about the flip side – is that the companies anted up to the state in various taxes and royalties nearly $1 billion – $959 million, the Journal says.
So, here is what we know now: Nearly $1 billion is no big deal when it is being paid the state by the industry and, in fact, is simply not enough, but $350 million in industry profit is “gigantic.” It is noteworthy that Democrats rarely, if ever, mention all the money the industry has pumped into state coffers. It would destroy their case.
The industry has underwritten 90 percent or so of state spending over the years. It has paid Alaska more than $58 billion in oil production taxes since statehood; $11.5 billion in corporate income taxes; nearly $4 billion to the state and cities in property taxes; and, about $47 billion in royalties. That seems a fairly “fair share” to us, but that seldom gets mentioned either.
Democrats seem to believe they can say or do anything to the industry without it responding; that they can raise taxes as much as they please and nothing will change. House Democrat Garen Tarr, during debate about the oil tax policy rewrite, even asserted companies would not leave Alaska because it has great geology, the Journal noted. That sounds like bullying to us.
There was other buffoonery during the debate, all of it showing in vivid technicolor the Democrats’ lack of knowledge about the oil industry and the effects of their chicanery, but that gives you a taste.
While we still have no rock solid idea of what the industry’s “fair share” should be, we know that nearly $1 billion is too little, according to our pals on the left. We also know that if House Democrats have their way, jacking up oil taxes as prices remain low and flat, the nearly $1 billion Alaska receives now will shrink and Alaskans will suffer.
Jobs will be lost. The economy will suffer. The state treasury will get less money. The fiscal crisis will worsen.
Our search continues.