Senate District N: Sen. Cathy Giessel talks about oil taxes, Pebble and jobs for Alaskans

By SEN. CATHY GIESSELOctober 27, 2012 

Alaska schools with Career & Technical Education + Responsible Alaska Resource Development = Alaska Jobs (Today + Future) + Vibrant Economy = North to the Future!

OIL TAXES

It funds your Permanent Fund Dividend check -- only $878 this year. Some Alaskans were startled by this year's comparatively small payout. But, the facts: North Slope production is down + Price of oil is down = Less money to State of Alaska treasury and PFD.

It's Alaska's oil, but its not working for us while it sits, stranded, in the ground. We hire people who know how to get it out of the ground. We tax them for the amount they take out, but also keep 12.5 percent as our royalty share.

High taxes + Hard to reach oil + High cost to produce = Production on North Slope down + Price of oil down = Less money to state of Alaska and PFD + Less Alaska jobs = Families split up as workers go to other states + Our kids leaving for jobs in other states.

We can change this equation. It takes serious discussions and decisions, which the recent state Senate Majority refused to do.

Alaska has lots of natural gas! It has no value to us sitting in the ground. We have not taken the necessary action to get it to our homes and businesses. Cook Inlet supply is decreasing. North Slope gas is still in the ground. Warnings are that we will be importing natural gas to supply Southcentral by 2015.

The state Senate Majority refused to adequately fund the continued work on an in-state gas pipeline. We must move forward with a gas pipeline project.

PEBBLE

Mining is a foundational industry in our state. Four of the five hydroelectric dams that power Juneau were built by the mining industry over 100 years ago. Waterways and fisheries have flourished at Red Dog and Fort Knox mines.

The mining prospect at Pebble is still under evaluation. When permit applications and the (yet to be developed) mine plan are eventually submitted, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources will begin a diligent evaluation process. This includes a rigorous review of development plans by a panel of third-party international experts.

I support the State's thorough scrutiny of our mining industry. I support allowing the Pebble prospect to receive a full and fair evaluation.

CANDIDATE'S CHOICE

I support hiring our trained, work-ready Alaskans first! My opponent claims to support "Alaska hire" but huge amounts of his campaign money going "Outside" makes me question his sincerity. So far he has sent $50,000 to Oregon and Texas to run his campaign, polling and media (APOC reporting). He moved his campaign manager, apparently an Oregonian, up here and lists his house as her address. That's not exactly walking his talk about hiring Alaskans!

How do we increase the number of employed Alaskans? First, Alaska needs to be an attractive place to do business. That means affordable energy, a solid school system, and transportation infrastructure to resources.

Second, Alaska needs to have a workforce ready to fill the jobs! Health care has projected job growth, but we also need welders, carpenters, heavy equipment mechanics and other trades. These are family-supporting jobs and critical to our industries.

I strongly support Career and Technical Education (CTE) being offered in our junior high and high schools. Nikiski Middle and High School, in my new district, is developing some great CTE courses for their students.

CTE equips students with marketable skills that employers need. These courses are interesting, challenging and keep students in school. It's education that works!


Sen. Cathy Giessel, who has served in the Senate since 2011, is the Republican candidate for Senate District N, South Anchorage and the Upper Kenai Peninsula.

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