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My Turn: Do we really want the fox guarding the chicken-coop?

Posted: February 28, 2013 - 1:11am

Vic Fischer, a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention, recently quoted Bob Bartlett, the long time AK representative to the US congress and first senator from our state, cautioning that we not allow ourselves to become captive to out-of-state companies.

We need to heed that caution today!

Consider the facts. The McDowell Group in January 2012 reported that the North Slope oil and gas industry added more than 5000 new jobs, between 2000 and 2010, doubling employment. From 2007-2011 North Slope oil spending increased about $1.3 billion annually!

Consider the record. The court mandated fine for the Exxon-Valdez (1989) was $5 billion. They repeatedly litigated reducing it to $507.5 million, about 1/10, and were reluctant even to pay the interest! By then many of the people affected had died. In 2007 when Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) was enacted the oil industry voiced their strong desire for an unchanging consistent and stable Alaska tax structure. Now that same voice is silent as THEY push for lower tax. Today Conoco-Philips advertises itself as “Alaska’s Oil Company.” Alaska has no oil company! A $1-2 billon annual giveaway without guarantees means taking from the people of Alaska and giving it to the oil companies. Is this what we elected our legislators to do? On the basis of the record can we trust big oil in Alaska?

For the past 5 years the U.S. and world economies have been struggling with deep recession, yet crude oil prices continue high. Think how those prices will soar as economies continue to rebound. Why remove our progressive oil tax and replace it with a flat one? If necessary adjust the % in the progressive tax, but leave it progressive. The oil belongs to the state and its people. Now is the time to make your voice heard to our governor and legislators! THIS IS A CALL FOR ACTION.

Do we really trust the fox to guard the chicken-coop?

• Beran is a 20 year resident of Juneau.

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