Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

As the last ballots are being counted in Alaska’s primary election, a tax break for oil produced in the state seems likely to survive a repeal attempt.

The tax break was signed into law last year by Governor Sean Parnell and instituted a flat tax of 35 percent on barrels of oil produced in the state.

With all 441 precincts reporting late Wednesday the repeal measure was trailing by 6,880 votes, the Anchorage Daily News said.

The tax break could be worth as much as $1 billion annually to producers including Conoco Phillips, BP and Exxon Mobil depending on prices.

The flat tax replaced a system championed by former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin that granted tax breaks for investments but established a progressive tax on oil that started at 25 percent and could climb as high as 75 percent depending on prices.

Palin called the flat tax a “boondoggle.”

Although an estimated 14,000 absentee ballots still need to be counted supporters of repealing the tax break conceded defeat Wednesday.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Parnell said oil companies need to “put their money where their mouth is [and] move those billions of dollars into work for Alaskans.”

Oil revenues make up about 90 percent of the state’s unrestricted general fund revenues, the Alaska Journal of Commerce said.

Supporters of the tax breaks hope the flat tax will bring more investment dollars to the state and boost oil revenues in the long run.


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