Alaska’s subsidies support the dominant oil and gas, mining, and fishing industries. The state has spent heavily on infrastructure development for major projects, including a road built for a mining operation owned by a Teck Resources subsidiary in the northwestern part of the state. Many of those deals are structured as public-private partnerships. Alaska does not have state sales or personal income taxes, but it does tax property and oil and gas production. Consequently, it offers various credits against those taxes. The state also provides loans and grants to commercial fishing companies.
Various agencies administer economic development subsidies. The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development manages business loans and grants; the Department of Revenue and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources administer tax breaks. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), the state development agency structured as a public-private corporation, finances large development and infrastructure projects.
Overall, Alaska has improved its recipient-level transparency. AIDEA publishes “project sheets” with information on major deals and DOR discloses which companies benefit from the Oil and Gas Tax Credits. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement as many of grants, loans, and tax breaks still do disclose basic information such as the names of companies that received them and their value.
In addition, it is unclear how much Alaska spends in total on its economic development programs. Neither the state nor its cities or school districts report lost revenues under GASB 77. The state also does not have a “traditional” tax expenditure report that would easily provide access to those costs.
The Alaska’s Legislative Finance Division reviews tax subsidies every six years, organizing the evaluation by administrating agencies, the Pew Charitable Trust reports.