Anchorage lawmaker introduces bill to repay Permanent Fund earnings when used for government spending
As the Legislature considers using the Permanent Fund’s earnings to pay for the state’s budget this year, an Anchorage lawmaker says any money taken out of the fund should be treated as a debt, to be repaid by oil companies when oil prices bounce back.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski introduced Senate Bill 188 Monday. It proposes to increase taxes to oil companies when profits rise above $20 a barrel by 0.3 percent per every additional dollar of profit beyond that amount.
“Every percent adds about $100 million for the state of Alaska so you’d have to see the price of oil go up pretty significantly before the money starts coming in,” Wielechowski explained. “Which means everyone’s making money. The oil industry is making massive amounts of profits at that point, and in Alaska, we should share in those profits.”
Wielechowski said the goal is to safeguard dividend checks by insuring that money taken in times of low oil prices will count towards dividends again in the future.
“It only makes sense, in my opinion, when the price of oil goes back, and it will inevitably go back up, and the oil industry is making billions and billions of dollars in profit — we might take a small, small piece of that and use it to repay the debt that we’ve incurred to the Permanent Fund,” Wielechowski said.
SB188 was referred to the Senate Resources Committee.
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