Letter: What did oil bill really cost?

As 2013 comes to a close, something to look forward to in the 2014 election year is more debate on Alaska’s oil taxes. What seems to be lacking are real figures on the cost of SB21 to our state. Proponents of the repeal blame the coming budget shortfall almost entirely on the passage of the new tax law. Opponents of Proposition 1 have claimed that the new law makes little difference overall and even suggested that we’re better off. My guess is that the real cost is somewhere in between these two popular claims. 

The public needs more accurate information in regards to the true cost of SB21 to Alaska. There are likely countless ways to spin figures besides just comparing oil production levels and prices to the previous year. Other considerations are things like credits, deductions and profit per barrel. Perhaps the revenue commissioner could come up with an accurate, honest report and comparisons for the public. Only then we can have fruitful discussion on this.

— Steven Helgason

Anchorage