A new ballot group has been created to defend Senate Bill 21 against repeal efforts. The Make Alaska Competitive Coalition — which has advocated for changes to Alaska’s oil tax structure since 2011 — announced Wednesday the creation of Keep Alaska Competitive — Vote No on 1 group.
Jim Jansen, co-chair of the ballot group and chairman of the shipping company Lynden, said that the ballot group is different from another pro-SB 21 ballot group sponsored by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. Jansen said stakeholders in the group decided not to accept money from oil companies to fund the group’s advocacy.
“Everybody says it’s all the oil companies, that it’s their money, that they’re buying this campaign because they have a self-interest in the taxes and we just strongly believe that Alaskans have probably a bigger vested interest up here than the oil industry does. They can take their money and go somewhere else and we’re here.”
Jansen said the ballot group is funded with major contributions from Lynden and Northrim Bank. In addition to Jansen, President and CEO of Northrim Bank Mark Langland is also a co-chair of the ballot group.
“We don’t have the dollars to run a big ad campaign, but we’re going to be highly organized and we’re going to be all over the state talking with anyone who will listen to us about why we think this is highly important,” Jansen said. He added, “I fell very strongly that if this referendum were to pass, that those of us who have homes, jobs and businesses in Alaska are in serious, serious trouble.”
The referendum to repeal SB 21 will be on the 2014 primary ballot.