ANCHORAGE — U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan praised the inclusion of Alaska items in President Barack Obama’s proposed $4.1 trillion federal budget but said Tuesday he cannot support a new oil tax and some other ways proposed to pay for the plan.
“A $10 tax on every barrel of oil would cripple Alaska’s economy, which is already reeling from low oil prices,” the Alaska Republican said in a statement.
The proposed budget highlighted a handful of expenditures affecting Alaska, including $150 million to complete planning and design of a new polar icebreaker so production of the ship could begin by 2020.
“The new, heavy icebreaker will assure year-round accessibility to the Arctic region for Coast Guard missions including protection of Alaska’s maritime environment and resources,” the White House said in an Alaska fact sheet accompanying release of the budget.
Obama promised to fast-track spending for the new icebreaker when he visited the country’s only Arctic state in August to draw attention to threats from climate change. Warming already is disrupting agriculture and ecosystems, food and water supplies and infrastructure, the White House said Tuesday.
Obama has proposed a $2 billion Coastal Climate Resilience program that includes $200 million for Alaska, where coastal villages are threatened by rising seas, coastal erosion and storm surges.
“This program would be paid for by redirecting roughly half of the savings achieved by repealing unnecessary and costly offshore oil and gas revenue sharing payments that are set to be paid to a handful of states under current law,” the White House said in its statement.
Obama proposed $19 million for the Denali Commission, created to provide technical assistance and economic development in Alaska.
The budget also includes more than $100 million for several federal agencies to support planning and infrastructure in high-need villages, according to the White House.
The budget proposes tax hikes on oil, the wealthy and big banks.
The $2.8 trillion net tax hike package would almost double the tax increases Obama sought — and was denied — last year.
A Sullivan spokesman, Mike Anderson, said by email that when Obama took office, the gross federal debt totaled $10.6 trillion, and by the end of his new proposed budget, gross federal debt would more than double to $27.4 trillion.
Sullivan said Arctic investment is vital to the country’s interests but he was elected in part to ensure that the next generation was not saddled with debt.
“This budget does the opposite,” Sullivan said.