Senate Finance Committee • SB 70
March 6, 2017 • Anchorage LIO

Good afternoon. My name is Marleanna Hall, and I am the executive director of the Resource Development Council. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, fisheries and tourism industries. RDC members are truly the life-blood of Alaska’s economy. We believe the best approach to expand the economy and generate new revenues for the state is to produce more oil, attract more tourists, harvest more fish and timber, and mine more minerals.

But growing these industries requires private sector investment, and demonstrating that Alaska is a stable place to invest. We believe a key step in proving Alaska is “open for business” is to have a long-term fiscal plan.

For more than 20 years RDC has advocated for a sustainable fiscal plan, and now is the time to act. While we believe Alaska’s budget policy should concentrate first on finding efficiencies and focusing on a series of annual reductions to our unsustainable budget, it must also include framework to use the Permanent Fund earnings to support essential services. Only then, after reducing the unrestricted general fund to sustainable levels and using Permanent Fund earnings, should additional, broad-based revenue options be considered.

With regard to SB 70, RDC applauds the efforts of the Senate Finance Committee to craft this legislation, an essential component of a long-term fiscal solution.

Cautious and prudent use of earnings from state investments will strengthen the economic viability of Alaska, leading to increased private sector investment in our natural resource industries. This approach is a long-term solution, versus the short sighted approach of chasing away investment dollars through an ongoing series of increasing taxes and fees, growing regulatory burdens, and associated actions and policies which make us less competitive for global investment.

Co-chairs and members of the Senate Finance Committee, thank you for the opportunity to offer RDC’s perspective on SB 70 today and I urge you to pass this legislation, and pass it now. This legislation looks to the future for all Alaskans.