The unfolding VECO scandal deeply troubles me. Although I have always tried to live by the biblical injunction to "judge not" and by our constitutional right of the presumption of innocence, the more I read, the more troubled I become.
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The details revealed in the charging indictments and their guilty pleas make it clear VECO worked to convince elected officials to bargain away the rightful benefits of all Alaskans. With each percentage of the Petroleum Production Tax held back, the state may have lost up to $40 million of potential revenue income each year.
My heart goes out to the families of everyone involved, but as a local elected official, I look on this as a lost opportunity to restore municipal revenue sharing or the Longevity Bonus.
It is time to revisit the oil production tax, as Gov. Sarah Palin has called for, and to complete the Legislature's work to put real teeth into state ethics legislation. Ethics reform cannot wait.