Opinion

Commentary: Alaska should take a step back before cutting oil taxes

Rep. Craig Johnson, co-chairman of the House Resources Committee, is the prime sponsor of a bill to lower oil tax rates and offer tax credits to producers to encourage more exploration and the hiring of more Alaskans. Representatives of the oil producers are scheduled to testify before his committee this week.

It's no secret they want to cut the tax rates of ACES (Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share) passed by the Legislature in 2007. It's no secret, and no surprise, that the volume of oil shipped through the trans-Alaska pipeline is declining.

Oil patch jobs, state revenue and Alaskans' future economic prospects are at stake here. So are conflicting political philosophies.

Johnson said last week that he wants a committee vote on his bill this week. That's reasonable.

But before the committee votes, here are some of the questions lawmakers should ask.

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