Calling it a “starting point” for addressing rising energy costs, Gov. Sarah Palin submitted a bill to state lawmakers today that would give every Alaskan $1,200, as well as suspend the state fuel tax for one year.
The one-time payment would distribute $729 million from an expected multi-billion-dollar surplus in oil revenue this fiscal year, which ends on June 30. The fuel tax holiday would save Alaskans $40 million, according to the state.
“We can afford to share resource wealth with Alaskans and to temporarily suspend the state fuel tax. It is my hope these items would be implemented by September. We look forward to working with legislators in the coming weeks to find the best possible solution to provide short-term energy relief,” Palin said in a prepared statement.
The bill revises a proposal Palin made in May that would have given out $1,200 in “energy debit cards” to every resident of the state, as well as made $475 million in direct grants to electric utilities around the state.
Palin dropped the debit card idea because of expensive administrative costs and the impracticality of the debit cards in rural communities. However, the Palin administration plans to “continue reviewing” the utility grants and could give the legislature another bill in July.
Palin also directed the Division of Investments to offer low-interest loans to commercial fishermen for fuel-efficient engines.
See full story in June 29 issue of Petroleum News, available to subscribers online at noon, Friday, June 27, at www.PetroleumNews.com