Governor Urged to Join Anti
Several Democrats say tax
suspension not enough
January 14, 2010
Several Democratic legislators on Tuesday applauded Gov. Sean
Parnell's attempts to hold down fuel costs for Alaskans, but
urged the governor to go further, and join their efforts to end
fuel price gouging in Alaska. The governor wants to extend the
eight cent fuel tax suspension, but the Democrats' proposal could
reduce gasoline costs by as much as 54 cents per gallon.
"Alaskans are paying too much for gas," said Rep.
Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) who is a sponsor of HB 68 which would
prohibit refineries from charging excessive or exorbitant prices.
"The real problem is that Alaska's two major refineries
have no competitors and can charge whatever they want."
Despite being the nation's largest oil producer per capita, Alaska
gasoline and diesel prices have consistently been the highest
in the nation, even when the state tax was suspended for a year.
According to the latest report from AAA, including state taxes,
Alaskan gas prices are 63 cents higher than the national average.
The average Alaskan gasoline price is $3.30 per gallon excluding
state taxes. Hawaii, which produces no oil, has the second highest
prices at $2.92 per gallon. In Washington the price is $2.51.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) who sponsors SB 54 said,
"A recent nonpartisan report showed Alaskans have been paying
about 54 cents per gallon more than the national average, and
refiners in Alaska are making twice as much profit as elsewhere.
While rolling back the 8 cent gas tax may help, if we want real
change for Alaskans, we must pass a strong anti-price gouging
Separate investigations by the Attorney General, House Judiciary
Committee, and the Legislative Research Service have all shown
that Alaska's high prices are caused by abnormally large mark
ups charged by Alaska's refineries. The Attorney General concluded
that there is no real competition between the two refiners, but
that Alaska does not have any laws against price gouging.
"Repealing the eight-cent gas tax only addresses the tip
of the iceberg," said Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) a sponsor
of the House bill. "The underlying issue is bringing those
prices down to be more in line with what families should be paying.
"The problem isn't high taxes, the real problem is high
prices charged by the refineries."
Also sponsoring the House legislation are Reps. Scott Kawasaki
(D-Fairbanks) and Les Gara (D-Anchorage). The Senate bill is
also sponsored by Sens. Johnny Ellis and Hollis French (both
D-Anchorage). The House bill is currently before the House Labor
and Commerce Committee, and the Senate bill is in the Senate
Governor Calls for Two-Year Motor Fuel
Source of News:
Representative Pete Petersen
Representative Chris Tuck
Senator Bill Wielechowski
E-mail your news &
photos to email@example.com
Publish A Letter in SitNews Read Letters/Opinions
Contact the Editor
Stories In The News