Walker plans to introduce property tax bill for liquefied natural gas project

BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press

Walker plans to introduce property tax bill for liquefied natural gas project

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Bill Walker is expected to introduce legislation setting out a framework for calculating property-tax payments for the state and municipalities from a major liquefied natural gas project.

Revenue Commissioner Randall Hoffbeck said in an interview that the formula will be more generic than what was approved by an advisory group that includes local and state officials or what came from a review by the project's sponsors. But he said it will lay out a structure so the parties know the variables that will be involved in calculating the payments.

The state is pursuing the mega-project with BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., TransCanada Corp. and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Members of the Senate majority have said they anticipated this session bills from the administration related to property taxes and right-of-way access for the project. A right-of-way bill was previously introduced by Walker.

Hoffbeck said he doesn't think there would be much impact on the negotiations for the project if a bill were not to pass this session because there seems to be a general consensus by the advisory group and the companies on the direction they want to go on the tax issue.

Still to be decided, he said, are impact payments during construction of the project; how the total take from the property tax on the project when it is running would be divided between the state and municipalities; and whether there would need to be concessions by the state and municipalities on the tax issue to make the project's finances work.

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