April 18, 2013
The first session of the 28th Alaska Legislature has drawn to a close, and I want to thank the Alaska Legislature for considering our priorities and for taking action to benefit Alaskans.
Alaska's Oil Production Comeback
Most notable was the passage of Senate Bill 21, legislation that reforms Alaska’s oil tax system to get more oil production for Alaskans. This means more economic opportunities for Alaskans and a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.
Taken together, SB 21, SB 27, and HB 129 will lead to increased oil production by simplifying our tax structure to make Alaska competitive in the global market, giving us primacy over wetland permitting, and streamlining oil and gas permitting. We also have a fiscal plan in place to instill greater fiscal responsibility in State spending over the next five years as we create a climate for economic growth and opportunity for Alaskans.
I thank the many Alaskans who made their voices heard this session. Hundreds of Alaskans from across the state, including small business owners, employees, parents, teachers, and retirees testified on the importance of oil tax reform and what new production means to their own future. There is no doubt; your hard work and dedication made the difference.
Fiscal Restraint and Lowering Alaskans’ Taxes
We lowered State spending by about 15 percent, more than one billion dollars. We also set in place a 5-year fiscal plan to manage Alaska’s reserve funds wisely and limit government spending.
We gave Alaskans' payroll taxes a break. The Legislature passed my legislation allowing for the suspension of automatic payroll tax increases when the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund is deemed solvent. Currently, the law requires tax collections, including increases, from employers and employees, even if the UI Trust Fund is solvent. This legislation ensures Alaska’s workers and employers are keep more of their paychecks.
Interior Energy Plan
We also made great strides in our effort to provide Alaska’s gas to Alaskans. We now have in place a financing package for natural gas liquefaction and distribution. Building an Interior gas distribution system will benefit Alaskans now, and position those communities to benefit from an Alaska gasline in the future.
Better Protection for Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking Victims
We completed work to keep our families safer. Our comprehensive crime bill increased protections for children, domestic violence, and trafficking victims. We will not rest until all Alaskans are safe.
I commend those who took part in the public process this session and thank the Alaska Legislature for their work on behalf of future generations of Alaskans.
Governor Sean Parnell