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Repeal the Giveaway drive in final stretch

Posted: July 11, 2013 - 10:04pm  |  Updated: July 12, 2013 - 12:13am
Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, at right, watches as his wife, Lureen, sign a petition to repeal Alaska Senate Bill 21, July 2, 2013, at the Backdoor Cafe in Sitka, Alaska. Stedman said the tax restructuring bill, that he voted against this year, "isn't fair to the state."  The deadline to submit 30,000 signatures of Alaska voters to the Division of Elections is July 13. Also pictured is Stedman's daughter, Susan, who signed the petition as well. (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)  James Poulson
James Poulson
Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, at right, watches as his wife, Lureen, sign a petition to repeal Alaska Senate Bill 21, July 2, 2013, at the Backdoor Cafe in Sitka, Alaska. Stedman said the tax restructuring bill, that he voted against this year, "isn't fair to the state." The deadline to submit 30,000 signatures of Alaska voters to the Division of Elections is July 13. Also pictured is Stedman's daughter, Susan, who signed the petition as well. (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)

JUNEAU — The group behind an effort to repeal Alaska’s oil tax overhaul has reported raising more than $63,000 for the campaign so far.

According to financial disclosures, “Vote Yes — Repeal the Giveaway” reported raising about $44,000 of that between May 16 and June 30, as it entered its final signature-gathering push. Major donors during the period included B.J. Gottstein and attorney Robin Brena, each listed as contributing $10,000. There is no contribution limit for ballot groups, according to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

“Vote Yes — Repeal the Giveaway” reported about $23,000 on hand as of June 30.

The group faces a Saturday deadline for turning in enough qualified signatures to get the proposed referendum on next year’s primary ballot. Organizers have indicated they expect to meet that requirement.

This is just one of several signature-gathering efforts underway in Alaska.

There are also proposed ballot initiatives that would raise the state’s minimum wage, legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana by those 21 and older and require legislative approval for large-scale mining activity in the Bristol Bay region.

While ballot groups have up to a year to turn in petition booklets for proposed initiatives, organizers behind these three proposals will need to turn in the required signatures before the next legislative session starts in January if they want to try to get them on the 2014 primary ballot.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell recently certified the marijuana and minimum wage proposals, clearing the way for signature-gathering to begin. The “Bristol Bay Forever” proposal had been OK’d for signature-gathering months earlier.

Bristol Bay Forever Inc. reported raising about $65,000 between April 1 and June 30, ending the period with just under $1,000 left. Nearly all the money raised during the period came from the Renewable Resources Coalition, which opposes the proposed Pebble Mine.

Unions accounted for the majority of the more than $31,000 raised by “Alaskans for a Fair Minimum Wage” between April 1 and July 7. The proposed initiative would raise the minimum wage from the current $7.75 an hour to $8.75 an hour effective Jan. 1, 2015. It would go to $9.75 an hour a year later and be adjusted for inflation annually after that. The group reported about $10,000 on hand at the end of the period and $17,000 in debts.

The “Campaign to Regulate Marijuana” reported raising nearly $2,500 between April 1 and June 30, with the Marijuana Policy Project providing nearly all the financial and non-monetary contributions reported. The group had over $1,000 on hand at the end of the period.

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