"Let's not hinder an industry that has brought so much wealth to Alaska and has been the engine driving the state's economy for decades."
- Rep. Kohring
(JUNEAU) - Representative Vic Kohring (R-Wasilla/Mat-Su), Chairman of the Legislature's Oil & Gas Committee, expressed his strong opposition to the Governor's announcement Wednesday to increase taxes on the oil industry.
Kohring, a strong anti-tax advocate, is concerned that adjustments to the "ELF" provisions to North Slope fields sends the wrong message to an industry that has been the center piece of Alaska's economy for a generation.
"Let's not hinder an industry that has brought so much wealth to Alaska and has been the engine driving the state's economy for decades," said Kohring. "We need to remind ourselves that oil and gas companies have invested billions in the state, assumed substantial risk in the process, and are now reaping the benefits of that investment. We should not punish them for doing so. Furthermore, without the oil industry, our state never would have received billions of dollars in royalties to fund essential government services."
Kohring also expressed concern about the long-term effect the increased taxes will have on Alaska's economy. "If the industry is being taxed literally hundreds of millions more, there will likely be less incentive to invest here because of the uncertainty created. With less investment dollars, less exploration and development will occur, translating into fewer jobs and money flowing into the economy."