Lawmakers seek money behind tax attack ad

Posted: Monday, August 28, 2006

ANCHORAGE - A proposed tax on natural gas reserves has come under attack in a television advertisement and two legislators say they are determined to find out who is paying for the ads.

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State Reps. Eric Croft and Harry Crawford, Democrats from Anchorage, are sponsors of the ballot measure that voters will consider in November, along with Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks.

Croft and Crawford said a recent ad by the nonprofit group Alaska's Future crosses a line because it advocates voting against the $1 billion gas reserves tax. The legislators told KTUU-TV that means the Alaska Public Offices Commission should require the group to disclose its contributors.

"What the real problem is (is) that we don't know who we're fighting against," Croft said. "It's a shadow group, really a front group, and we don't know who's funding them. And so that's what we're going to ask APOC to tell us, to demand, is tell us where this money's coming from: Outside, in the state, individuals, corporations. I don't mind the fight. I want to know who I'm fighting."

Shane Langland, a businessman who heads the group, said the reserves tax would not force North Slope producers to build a natural gas line, as Croft and Crawford contend.

Instead, Langland said, it would kill any chance of a project.

As for the money behind the ads, Langland said, it's the message that's important, not the messenger.

"No matter what you do, if you have a message, somebody will find an issue with whoever my members may be - and they cross the state and they cross industry, from fishermen to timber to small business people like me," he said. "We cross the breadth of Alaska's economy."

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