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My Turn: Stay optimistic, vote no on 1

Posted: August 6, 2014 - 11:04pm

The Keep Alaska Competitive Coalition — Vote No on 1 group has taken its message on the road in an effort to cut through the clutter and deliver our message directly to the voters.

Dozens of trucks now sport decals that read: “Vote No on 1 … For our families … Our Jobs … For Alaska.”

Alaskans paid for the truck decals, along with 1,800 smaller signs, because we believe Ballot Measure 1 is the most important vote Alaskans have faced in decades. We understand all too well that oil tax reform is an Alaska issue, not an oil company issue.

The oil industry tax base pays for 90 percent of Alaska’s general fund to operate the government. It’s the source of revenue for our Permanent Fund, supports our civic groups and employs directly or indirectly half of all Alaskans. It means Alaskans pay no state sales tax or a state income tax.

Oil companies invest wherever they can make the highest profit on their investment. That’s their responsibility to their shareholders. They will invest in Alaska only if it provides a greater financial return than investments in other places like North Dakota, Texas, California or Indonesia. Reasonable and competitive tax rates are necessary if we are to attract investment in Alaska to reverse the decline in oil production.

Our choices as Alaskans are not so clear. We live here. We have jobs here. We own homes here. We want a future for our kids and grandkids. Where do we go if Alaska oil production drops to the point that the pipeline is abandoned? We can leave Alaska and build our future elsewhere, but that’s not what we want.

That’s why I’m voting no on 1 and spending so much of my time with the “Keep Alaska Competitive – Vote No on 1” campaign. Our supporters consist of thousands of Alaskans who understand the importance of stopping the oil production decline. We are not the oil industry — and we accept no funding from the oil industry.

For three years, our predecessor group, the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition, worked hard on oil tax reform to encourage more production. Even the most ardent opponent of oil tax reform agreed then — and agrees today — that the old system called “ACES” was broken and needed to be fixed. Some of these same people controlled the state senate and spent two years failing to fix a tax scheme that caused Alaska to miss out on the great energy renaissance that swept the nation. It is totally illogical and inappropriate to return to ACES and its proven failure.

SB 21 is working. Already the production decline has almost stopped, new projects are underway and there is renewed optimism on the North Slope. Alaskans should give this new tax policy a chance to prove itself, especially when we all agree that the old oil tax policy was a flop. And if SB 21 doesn’t deliver — if the oil industry does not invest as planned — we can readjust our taxes at any time.

Alaska has a very bright economic future “if” we provide reasonable and competitive taxes and support our petroleum industry. Be sure and vote August 19 — and vote no on 1.

• Jim Jansen is chairman of Lynden and co-chair of Keep Alaska Competitive – Vote No on 1.

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Karl Ashenbrenner
Karl Ashenbrenner 08/07/14 - 06:32 am
Interesting that

Jansen says the oil industry will only invest in Alaska if their return is higher than other places such as N.Dakota, Texas etc. Hopefully Mr. Jansen can read, because SEC filings by Conoco, Exxon etc show that they earn more per barrel in Alaska than anywhere else in the world, including more than any of their lower 48 projects. AND this also was during ACES. Now they even make more. So why wasn't the investment here? Maybe because there was not any requirements or penalties if they didn't, just like in SB21. Even though there currently is a bump up in investment I would posit that it has more to do with stopping the Repeal initiative and if that fails investment will drop again...because the big 3 are making $ hand over fist for NO requirement to invest or produce any additional oil.

Art Petersen
Art Petersen 08/07/14 - 07:27 am
SB21 is not working

for Alaska's interests but against them. It's putting the general fund into deficit. It's eating into the constitutional reserve. It will burn into the Permanent Fund. The oil belongs to Alaska, and Alaska should benefit generously from its oil revenue, not have it slide into worse and worse insufficiency. As the funding of the entire infrastructure of Alaska suffers financial cut backs during a world-wide oil boom, advocates of SB21 want Alaskans to be thankful for what "trickles down."

Those who are against Ballot Measure 1 support a failed economic philosophy called "supply side economics," which calls for an unlimited supply of resource at the least possible price. This position goes against Alaska's Constitution, which states,

The legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the State, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people. (Article VIII, Section 2.)

Those who are for Ballot Measure 1 support receiving a fair share of the resource that Alaska owns. A fair share would be enough to produce an ample "maximum benefit."

It cannot be stated often enough, apparently, that voting for Ballot Measure 1 DOES NOT support a return to ACES. It supports repeal of the giveaway of Alaska's financial future and the adjustment of ACES equitably.

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