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My Turn: SB 21 is Working - give it a chance

Posted: August 15, 2014 - 12:06am

Come Aug. 19, I will be voting “no” on Ballot Measure 1.

A “no” vote will continue Alaska down the road to economic prosperity. It also represents a simple acceptance of the facts: ACES failed, while Senate Bill 21, also known as the More Alaska Production Act (MAPA), essentially stopped the drop in North Slope oil production and is attracting billions in new investment. I voted against ACES in 2007 due to its major flaws. Seven years later, the policy has been proven to be a failure.

In 2013, the last year of ACES, oil production plummeted by 8 percent, representing a loss of $1.8 billion. Alaska’s gross domestic product also declined 2.5 percent, making it the only state in the nation to see economic decline.

After only eight months under the new oil tax reform, however, the 24-year decline in North Slope oil has finally abated. Six new rigs have come online and Alaska has seen a staggering $10 billion in new investment, which will mean more revenue and bigger Permanent Fund Dividend checks.

The new investment dollars are no coincidence; they are purposely built into the blueprint of oil tax reform. SB21 directly ties tax credits to oil production by requiring oil companies to put new oil through the pipeline before getting a tax break. Under ACES, tax credits were paid to the oil companies for capital spending, which meant the state of Alaska was giving oil companies billions of dollars with no guarantee of new oil. In fact, if we revert to ACES, Alaskans will have to dole out nearly $1 billion in tax credits for spending on Point Thompson.

It’s suggested we can simply go back and tweak ACES, despite its massive flaws, but there’s no such thing as a small change in the tax system. It will be difficult, potentially a multi-year process, resulting in the third change to Alaska oil tax system in eight years, creating yet more instability. Stability, after all, is a key element to remaining competitive because businesses need a stable tax regime when making long-term plans.

Alaskans should be proud their legislators responded to the failures ACES and supported oil tax reform in a bipartisan final vote (12-8 in the Senate). In fact, I do not know a single legislator in the state who believes ACES was not flawed. Eight months into oil tax reform, we’re seeing the positive effects of the major resurgence of investments on the North Slope.

These developments under the new oil tax reform add up to a big win for Alaska. With an economy fueled by a healthy oil industry, we’ll have more high-paying jobs for Alaskans and more funding for education, roads, law enforcement and basic infrastructure.

This is just the beginning. Oil tax reform will build a bridge into the future toward development on the outer continental shelf and hopefully the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I urge my fellow Alaskans to cast their votes based on the facts and common sense, not empty rhetoric and scare tactics. The people of Alaska must make a decision. A “yes” vote will regress to a tax system we all know was a failure. A “no” vote will tell the rest of the world we are open for business and on a path toward long-term economic prosperity, guaranteeing the Alaska Permanent Fund will continue to grow, more Alaska businesses will prosper, and all of our children will reap the benefits. I encourage every Alaskan to check the “no” box and give oil tax reform a chance to work.

• Alaska Senate President Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, has served since 2004. He leads a caucus of 13 Republicans and two Democrats.

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Tom Rutecki
Tom Rutecki 08/15/14 - 01:48 pm
Exxon Didn't Pick Up the Tab

It is amazing that there are those that want to give more of OUR money to Big Oil.

Exxon fought tooth and nail to avoid paying the judgements made against them. For example, their 2.5 billion punitive damages settlement was reduced to just 500 million, which is something like one week's profits for them back in 1989 when the Valdez ran aground.

Exxon didn't pay punitive damages right away. It took nearly 20 years or more for those that got something got a few bucks. And by that time the banks were all over fisherman who lost their livelihood due to the oil spill.Creditors (e.g. boat and house payments) were all over those folks and many loss everything.

LOL- 11 million gallons of oil have no affect on herring according to Exxon in the area? Herring seiners were financially wiped out. What will I hear next? Oil occurs naturally on PWS beaches?

Must be nice to be able to distort the facts when you have $20 billion more that financially devastated fisherman did not get in your pockets to spend.

The fact that you can walk on the beach in Prince William Sound turn over a rock and find crude oil means nothing according to Exxon? The fact that the crude is STILL "dispersed" to the bottom of the sound or just below the surface doesn't matter? or the smell of it is still there?and NO its not was never cleaned up. simply swept under the rug, out of sight out of mind. But Exxon tells us it is no big deal.

Haily George
Haily George 08/16/14 - 09:06 am
Kevin - Oil is a public

Kevin -
Oil is a public resource.
Oil companies privatize gain but socializing losses.

Should private companies be allowed to privatize our water supplies?

“Water has been a public resource under public domain for more than 2,000 years,” says James Olson, an attorney who specializes in water rights. “Ceding it to private entities feels both morally wrong and dangerous.”

"Everyone agrees that we are in the midst of a global freshwater crisis. Around the world, rivers, lakes, and aquifers are dwindling faster than Mother Nature can possibly replenish them; industrial and household chemicals are rapidly polluting what’s left. Meanwhile, global population is ticking skyward. Goldman Sachs estimates that global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, and the United Nations expects demand to outstrip supply by more than 30 percent come 2040".

Just came across this story: www. newsweek. com/race-buy-worlds-water-73893

"Texas-based S2C Global Systems has announced the creation of a water hub at a port on the west coast of India with the potential to distribute billions of gallons of water each year from Sitka, Alaska to markets in India, the Middle East and west Asia, according to a press release on the company’s website."

author of above story points out that privatization makes for global barons and it is turning our country and the world into the have and the have not's - right now under our noses

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