Former Alaska official to prepare state for oil-tax debate

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska governor has contracted a former state official to help prepare for the Legislature’s oil-tax adjustments proposals, a report said.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy awarded a single-source contract to the state’s former chief economist Ed King to prepare for debate against the Legislature, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.

The administration does not want to change the tax code and King could help it prepare with his background working for state departments on oil-revenue issues, the Dunleavy administration said.

“I know the Legislature is geared up,” Department of Revenue commissioner Bruce Tangeman said. “If they gear up, I have to gear up.”

King will study potential tax changes and their impacts on the oil industry to equip the administration for debate against any upcoming proposed changes by the Legislature, the Dunleavy administration said.

Dunleavy was urged to add oil tax reform to his special session agenda, but ignored the requests, the minority Alaska Senate Democrats have said.

In recent months, Dunleavy has also vetoed $444 million in the state’s operating budget, Democrats said.

King’s single-source contract will cost $50,000 and includes two one-year renewal options, the newspaper reported.

King’s contract meets ethics requirements, a Department of Law attorney said.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com