Compass: Alaska risks future prosperity if we repeal oil tax cuts

More than 30 years ago, my wife and I made one of the biggest decisions of our lives and moved our young family to Anchorage. Alaska's rugged landscape became the most unexpected place for the Spinellis to call home. In 1987, we started our own company, building and designing homes for Alaska families. Over the years, Spinell Homes has grown to become Alaska's No. 1 homebuilder. We don't take the opportunities Alaska has offered for granted. Alaska and its economy have been good to us and, now, to our three grown children.

Today Alaskans have a big decision to make. The outcome will determine the fate of our economy, our schools and our livelihoods. Oil has been the foundation of this great state for four decades, and with the oil pipeline flow reaching record lows, all of that is in jeopardy. Last April, the Legislature passed oil tax reform. The law restructured the way oil companies are taxed, making it more attractive for companies to work, explore and increase oil production in Alaska.

Since the bill passed and has now been enacted, we have seen it working. Big and small companies are pumping millions of dollars -- even billions -- into Alaska, announcing plans to expand and explore. We know that momentum will grow even more once the uncertainty of a tax repeal goes away, paving the way for an Alaska full of new opportunity.

When the oil companies are working hard, our employees are working hard. There is more money and job security, and that means more people are investing in houses and setting down roots of their own in Alaska. When I'm building more, I am buying more materials from other Alaska businesses and hiring more people. The ripple effect is so huge that recent studies show the oil and gas industry is directly responsible for 10,000 jobs in this state. For every one direct oil job, nine other jobs are created, so that today oil supports one out of every three jobs statewide. Alaska has become a place for people to find opportunity, raise families and watch their grandchildren do the same. All of that is at risk if we vote yes to repeal oil tax reform this August.

One day I will retire and my children and grandchildren will be running the business that my wife and I built. I fear if the right decisions aren't made now, they won't have a prosperous Alaska to call home. We used to boast about the amount of oil flowing through TAPS; now we watch our skilled friends and neighbors head south to places like North Dakota or Texas looking for work. We joked that other states like California considered themselves oil producers. Now they are beating us and producing more oil than we are because they offer a better climate for companies to do business in than Alaska.

On Aug. 19, you will have the chance to create opportunity and again make Alaska a competitive state to do business. Vote no on Proposition 1 and secure a better future for your community and your family.

Chuck Spinelli is the owner of Spinell Homes, Inc.