Priorities and Positions
Each fall, Alaska Chamber members gather at our annual Policy Forum to propose positions for the upcoming year. Based on proposals submitted by the general membership, Chamber members adopt positions on issues that impact Alaska's economy. Our Board of Directors selects the Chamber’s top state and federal priorities for the year. Below are the Chamber's 2020 priorities and positions on critical issues affecting Alaska’s business climate.
2020 State Priorities
Support a comprehensive approach to create a sustainable state budget
The Alaska Chamber recognizes that to attract and sustain private capital investment in Alaska, the State must create a stable state budget climate over the long term. The Alaska Chamber supports a comprehensive approach to include continued but measured fiscal reforms over time and utilization of Permanent Fund earnings based on a rules-based framework. Together, these actions will support a responsible, balanced, and sustainable state budget.
Support a meaningful spending cap on operating budget expenditures
The Alaska Chamber supports a meaningful spending cap on operating budget expenditures. With an ever-growing state operating budget, the business community will live in constant fear of large tax increases. Either a spending cap or a tax cap allows elected officials to make tough calls on spending. They work relatively well in many communities at the local level.
Support comprehensive workers’ compensation reform
The Alaska Chamber supports enactment of systemic changes to the Alaska workers’ compensation insurance statutes to reduce the cost of insurance for employers while emphasizing effective treatment programs that promote injury recovery and the return to full employment of injured workers.
2020 Federal Priorities
Support oil and gas exploration and development in Alaska’s federal areas
The Alaska Chamber strongly supports oil and gas exploration and production in Alaska’s federal areas, including the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, NPRA, Cook Inlet and the 10-02 area of ANWR. The Chamber encourages Congress to enact revenue sharing for Alaska and local communities. The Chamber also encourages the Alaska congressional delegation, the Alaska Legislature and governor to support and strongly advocate for responsible development of these valuable resources, while the Chamber commits to actively support and participate in the education and advocacy efforts to open these areas.
Support reform of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Alaska Chamber supports reform of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
2020 State and Federal Positions (S) State – (F) Federal – (B) Both
(S Priority) 1. Support a comprehensive approach to create a sustainable state budget
The Alaska Chamber recognizes that to attract and sustain private capital investment in Alaska, the State must create a stable state budget climate over the long term. The Alaska Chamber supports a comprehensive approach to include continued but measured fiscal reforms over time and utilization of Permanent Fund earnings based on a rules-based framework. Together, these actions will support a responsible, balanced and sustainable state budget.
(S Priority) 2. Support a meaningful spending cap on operating budget expenditure
The Alaska Chamber supports a meaningful cap on operating budget expenditures. With an ever-growing State operating budget, the business community will live in constant fear of large tax increases. Either a spending cap or a tax cap allows elected officials to make tough calls on spending. They work relatively well in many communities at the local level.
(S) 3. Oppose new targeted taxes
Oppose new industry-specific targeted taxes, including increases on existing targeted taxes, unless self-imposed by the industry. Increases in industry-specific taxes should not fund general services.
(S) 4. Support a rigorous but efficient permitting process in Alaska
The Alaska Chamber supports making the number of State of Alaska permitters commensurate with levels of exploration and development activity.
(S) 5. Ensure mineral development benefits that should accrue to the entire state are not compromised by municipal or borough taxation
The potential for municipalities to target the mining industry for special severance taxes in addition to, or in place of, property taxes creates significant fiscal uncertainty for the metal mining industry and can impact both the longevity of existing operations and the economic feasibility of projects. In order to protect state sovereignty by ensuring that only the Legislature can levy metal mining taxes, the Alaska Chamber supports legislation that: 1. Eliminates the implements revenue sharing of the Alaska Mining License Tax (AMLT) with a municipality that hosts a metal mine. This does not impact levy and collection of usual, broad based taxes such as a property tax. Mines and municipalities could still enter into payment in-lieu of taxes (PILT) agreements if a broad-based tax is not available. This legislation would not dimension stone or any other bulk commodity that they may currently tax. It would only affect metal mines (gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, iron, platinum, rare earths, etc.).
(S) 6. Oppose the “Fair-Share Act” – a ballot measure raising oil taxes
The Alaska Chamber strongly opposes the latest attempt to raise oil taxes by a ballot measure. If adopted, the proposed initiative would raise taxes on the oil industry by over $1 billion. The "Fair Share Act" is a targeted tax on some of the state's largest investors.
(S) 7. Support a reasonable cruise ship passenger fee level and use of those fees consistent with state and federal law
The Alaska Chamber supports reasonable cruise ship passenger fee levels and use of passenger fees which are consistent with state and federal law and the Commerce Clause and Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution, requiring a direct connection to the passenger and the vessel.
(S) 8. Oppose all new unfunded property tax exemptions as introduced on the state level
The Alaska Chamber opposes all new unfunded property tax exemptions and will work to educate the governor and Alaska legislators on the effect of proposed exemptions on those individuals or businesses to which the tax burden would be shifted.
(S) 9. Support streamlining fisheries landing tax regulations
The Alaska Chamber supports streamlining fisheries landing tax regulations, simplifying the paperwork burden on self-marketing fishermen, and to align timing of reporting with the timing of payments due.
(S) 10. Support and encourage a positive investment climate that provides certainty and stability for statewide oil and gas activities; oppose efforts to increase oil and gas taxes.
The Alaska Chamber opposes any proposal that would add to the cost of doing business in Alaska’s oil and gas industry. Thousands of Alaskans have already lost jobs due to the low oil price environment. Constantly changing fiscal policies on the state’s largest economic driver stymies development, decreases opportunities for new production, and negatively impacts the state’s economy. Any proposal brought forward should provide for a positive investment climate that provides certainty and stability for Alaska’s oil and gas industry.
(S) 11. Support royalty oil sales
The Alaska Chamber supports state administrative and legislative approval of royalty oil contracts that use the same net back value as if the oil was sold out of state.