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My Turn: Oil tax votes: I'm not so forgiving

Posted: April 28, 2013 - 12:08am

Today’s Empire (Friday, April 26) is full of interesting stories, beginning with ConocoPhillips’ report of $540 million in net earnings in Alaska during the first quarter of the year.

The story of massive profits by Conoco was followed by a report of our Juneau legislative delegation’s remarks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. Much was made of various projects funded for the Southeast region. Rep. Cathy Muñoz spoke of her success in winning a seat on the House Finance Committee, and restoring $10 million for the Juneau Access Road. Senator Dennis Egan focused on the capital budget.

I am pleased that Rep. Beth Kerttula spoke about the massive oil tax giveaway, and voiced her concern that Alaska received no guarantees of future activity from ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and BP. Rep. Kerttula and Senator Egan, both Democrats, worked hard to defeat SB 21. Unfortunately, the bill passed.

The Empire reports that Rep. Kerttula “struck a conciliatory tone,” when she said, “So, in talking with Cathy and Dennis yesterday, you know, we’re going to have hope. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see how this works out.”

Rep. Kerttula is a born conciliator. She is incredibly kind and quick to forgive. I am not so quick to forgive. I want to make sure that Juneau residents do not forget that Rep. Cathy Muñoz is part of the Republican leadership team that gave away our oil tax revenues to the richest corporations on earth with no strings attached except, apparently, “hope.”

Our schools go without funding, but ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobile, and BP get huge tax breaks? I am angry about this and I hope others in Juneau are, too.

Rep. Muñoz had the ability, through her position on the House Finance Committee, to speak out against the tax giveaway and she did not. Instead, she supported this giveaway and voted with her majority to further line the coffers of Big Oil rather than increase funding for our schools.

There was one Empire story today that brought me hope. The Associated Press reported the application for a citizen-led oil tax repeal referendum has been approved by the Lieutenant Governor. The Division of Elections will have petition booklets ready within a week, and I will be among the first in line to get one. If you’d like to help, check out “Vote Yes – Repeal the Giveaway” on Facebook.

Kim Metcalfe is the Democratic National Committeewoman for Alaska

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