My grandfather was a highly successful oil wildcatter in Oklahoma, and his three sons were also in the oil business. My father’s business was taking his Jeep and magnetometer and searching for oil.
Last summer, when the news about SB 21 had been made public and widely discussed, I did something I had never done before. I took a petition booklet and went door-to-door in downtown Juneau.
The facts are simple: This bill, passed by a Legislature that included several legislators who work for the oil companies and signed by a governor who previously worked as an oil lobbyist, in effect removes the taxes from the oil companies.
SB 21 was trumpeted that it would increase production, and I am sure it does. So more workers are hired and we can shout at the progress. There is a tiny problem, however.
If you can drill and pay no taxes, who could ask for more? What it overlooks is the effect on the Alaska economy. How many billions of dollars is the state losing already, and how many more in the future?
The pressure is increasing as Aug. 19 approaches. The big oil companies, BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil are taking out large ads touting how many Alaskans are happy to have the tax pressure off. The Antis, my group, are not big companies and we have no money. We can only have signs and march in the Fourth of July parade and later display the signs at home. (Oh, yes, don’t forget the high-tech bumper stickers.)
What we do have is care for our Alaska and a desire to have money for Alaska’s savings, Alaska’s expenses, and a strong desire to prove that Ballot Measure 1 will pass if enough Alaskans vote for it.
As one with an oil background, I can truly tell you that as long as the oil companies are making money in Alaska, they will be here. When they are not making money, they will leave, and no amount of cajoling or giving away our resource will keep them. It is that simple.
Please vote Aug. 19 and show you love Alaska. Repeal the current law and vote “Yes.”