(Juneau) - Legislative Budget and Audit Committee Chair Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, today said two studies will not offer Alaska-specific recommendations and were not commissioned to deliver answers in the debate on amending the state's oil production tax, but will help educate policy makers on international competitiveness.
To suggest the Legislature must hold off action on these critical, time-sensitive amendments to the state's oil tax system is a misrepresentation of the substance of these two products.
~ Rep. Mike Hawker
LB&A has not commissioned an analysis of Alaska's regime, but has purchased two commercially available products analyzing global fiscal regimes. Some legislators have said they must wait for two studies in order to evaluate Alaska's oil tax system and proposed changes. In fact, legislators have had access under confidentiality agreements to one of the products since mid-March.
"I am concerned that public expectations are being unrealistically raised about the pertinence of these two purchases to the current debate on Alaska's oil tax regime," Rep. Hawker said. "These are not studies or analyses specifically commissioned by the Alaska Legislature, nor are they expected to deliver recommendations on Alaska's fiscal system.
"To suggest the Legislature must hold off action on these critical, time-sensitive amendments to the state's oil tax system is a misrepresentation of the substance of these two products," Rep. Hawker continued. "I have complete confidence in my vote supporting Governor Parnell's bill restoring competitiveness to Alaska's oil tax system, and that's without the 'benefit' of still more studies that tell us little that we are not already confronted with daily - declining investment, struggling support businesses, and steadily falling TAPS through-put."
The Wood Mackenzie and VanMeurs Corp. products are valuable background that will further Alaska policy makers' understanding of international oil and gas hydrocarbon jurisdictions, but are not expected to deliver any final determination or independent evaluation of Alaska's international competitiveness.
The LB&A Committee of the 26th Legislature evaluated and approved acquisition of the proprietary, computer-based products. Legislators must sign confidentiality agreements in order to access the resources. One is the Petroleum Fiscal Systems by Wood Mackenzie, a static database of the elements of more than 100 fiscal regimes worldwide. The system is designed to aid professional economic analysts in the mechanics of various fiscal systems. The system was made available to legislators in mid-March.
The second is Pedro VanMeurs' World Rating of Oil and Gas Terms, to be published in six volumes between February and September. LB&A has received the first volume rating North American oil and gas wells. Alaska will be included in a late spring edition on world Arctic oil and gas terms.