All Palin needs is a bigger stick

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2007

Exxon, BP and ConocoPhillips say they can't finance the construction of a gas line unless Alaska contracts away its right to adjust future tax rates.

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Sounds reasonable until you consider that not one government anywhere has ever granted such a request, and it would be unenforceable if they did.

Like most constitutional democracies, Alaska's constitution prohibits one legislature from contracting away the option of future legislatures to adjust Alaska's tax structure.

Some democracies don't have constitutions. They wouldn't have a mechanism of fixing oil taxes if the wanted to. Any future elected government could reverse any action of the preceding government with a vote of 51 percent of the body, including the undoing of a contract. The only types of government left are dictatorships, and they change rules at will.

Did anyone promise you what your future property taxes were going to be when you bought your house? Did the lack of a fixed tax prevent the construction of Alaska's first pipeline? Or any line? It has not.

The only adjustment Gov. Sarah Palin needs to add to her Alaska Gasline Inducement Act is a bigger stick.

That wailing sound you've been hearing in the meantime, which sounds a little bit like a melting wicked witch, is really just the sound of a good-old-boy system losing its grip on the levers of power in Alaska. Pay no attention.

Ray Metcalfe

Chairman of the Republican Moderate Party


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