Bill Corbus, former revenue commissioner and past president of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company speaks Thursday at a Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce meeting at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Bill Corbus, former revenue commissioner and past president of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company speaks Thursday at a Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce meeting at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

‘Alaska, don’t go there’: Former revenue commissioner says Fair Share Act would be bad for business

He’s heard his fair share about the act.

Bill Corbus’ message is cut and dry: Don’t support the initiative that would remove oil tax credits and raise taxed on oil production.

Corbus, former revenue commissioner from 2003-2006 and past president of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company, spoke Thursday at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s meeting, and made his case against the Alaska Fair Share Act.

[Opinion: We need to encourage investment in Alaska]

The proposed act, which could appear as an initative on ballots in November, would apply to Alaska’s three “legacy” oil fields — Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk and Alpine. Corbus said it could also apply to the planned Willow oil development. It would increase the gross minimum production tax, eliminate per-barrel credit provided to oil producers in the net production tax, make tax returns and other documents from oil and gas producers public information and prevent companies from deducting costs at other fields from tax payments at the legacy fields.

“My message is: Alaska, don’t go there,” Corbus said.

The act is intended to generate roughly $1 billion per year, according to Vote Yes for Alaska Fair Share, a group advocating for the initiative. That sum would go a long way to keep Alaska from spending at a deficit — a $1.5 billion deficit is built in the governor’s proposed budget — or at least reduce the amount of reserves being spent.

Corbus said the act could be a remedy for budget problems in the short term, but in the long run it would make Alaska a less attractive place to invest. He said that could mean less revenue for the state in the future, and it could cause oil companies to change already-known plans for investment.

“They’re planning on investing $11 billion in the next 10 years on the three legacy fields, and then they’re also planning on $13 billion for new fields,” Corbus said of oil companies.

He said if oil companies are taking in less money, they may decide to spend less money on those investments or take their business someplace else.

“I think they’ll probably be looking elsewhere,” Corbus said after his presentation in a short interview.

Vote Yes for Alaska Fair Share, an organization that supports the potential initiative, did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment, but disputes that notion in the frequently asked questions portion of its website. Vote Yes for Alaska Fair Share contends the act could open up the North Slope to new investors.

[Empire Live: Chamber speaker slams Fair Share Act]

“The Fair Share Act only applies to the largest and most profitable legacy fields,” reads the site. “It continues to encourage new producers and explorers to invest under the existing incentives. It also reduces the legacy producers’ unfair competitive advantage by no longer permitting them to deduct unrelated development costs for new fields from Alaskans’ share of the major legacy fields.”

Corbus said after his presentation that he is aware there is some concern about what continuing-to-develop alternative energy sources could mean for the future of the oil industry, but planned investments indicate that it is not universally accepted that those will supplant oil.

“Some people seem to feel that,” Corbus said. “The oil companies apparently don’t.”

Corbus was asked during a short question-and-answer session that followed his presentation if there was something the Legislature could pass that might preempt the initiative appearing on ballots —some sort of bill that might strike a compromise between leaving things as they are and the contents of the Fair Share Act.

“As far as what the Legislature should do to balance the budget, that’s above my pay grade,” Corbus said. “Somebody else can figure that out.”

• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 22

David Holmes digs through a pile of boardgames during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con over the weekend at Douglas Public Library and Sunday at Mendenhall Public Library. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Good times keep rolling with Platypus Gaming

Two-day mini-con held at Juneau Public Library.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau man indicted on child pornography charges

A Juneau man was indicted Thursday on charges of possessing or accessing… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Local leaders, lawmakers and lobbyists discuss political plans for coming year

Morning meeting looks at local impact of state, national political climates.

This photo shows pills police say were seized after a suspicious package was searched. (Juneau Police Department)
Police: 1,000 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of meth seized

Juneau man arrested on felony charges.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Captain Anne Wilcock recieves the Emery Valentine Leadership Award at the 2022 CCFR awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)
CCFR honors responders during annual banquet

Capital City Fire/Rescue hosted its 2022 awards banquet earlier this month as… Continue reading

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

Most Read