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Former Gov. Sarah Palin weighs in on Alaska's current oil tax debate

Laurel Andrews

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said in a phone interview with Alaska Dispatch News on Tuesday that she plans to speak out against oil company-funded efforts to maintain the oil tax structure put in place in January.

“I don’t want Alaskans to be deceived,” she said.

Palin warned against oil companies’ multimillion-dollar attempt to maintain the oil tax structure created under Senate Bill 21, and “allowing crony capitalism to sneak back in our state and result in more Corrupt Bastards Club members.”

Palin was initially contacted regarding a speeding ticket she received in Wasilla on July 16. Palin was pulled over in a black Toyota Tundra pickup with the license plate “LOVUSA” and fined $154 for driving 63 in a 45 mph zone, according to the citation. She said she was driving home from an early-morning bikram hot yoga workout in Anchorage.

“I was thinking, I wasn’t speeding, I was qualifying,” she said.

Palin then weighed in on the repeal of the tax system dubbed Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, her signature legislation signed into law in 2007 that brought the state billions of dollars in windfall income. ACES was replaced by Senate Bill 21 in January.

Palin has remained largely silent on the dismantling of ACES, and on Alaska politics in general. In May, she defended ACES during an interview  on the “Bob and Mark Show,” a radio program that airs on Anchorage station KWHL.

SB 21 was introduced at the beginning of the 2013 Alaska Legislature by Gov. Sean Parnell, Palin’s former lieutenant governor who took the governor’s office when Palin resigned in 2009.

SB 21 provides a more favorable tax structure for oil producers that supporters say will encourage investment and opponents say will cut billions from the state’s coffers without any benefit.

Voters will decide for themselves between the two tax laws when a referendum on SB 21 appears on the primary election ballot Aug. 19.

Palin came to office in 2006 riding a wave of anti-corruption sentiment following a series of FBI raids that focused on oil field services company Veco’s bribery of several Alaska legislators, sometimes referred to as the “Corrupt Bastards Club.”

“We fought crony capitalism up here in Alaska once, guys ended up going to prison for it, and um yeah, we want to make sure that Alaskans don’t get schnookered again,” she said.

“The future of Alaska is resource development,” she continued. “The only way we’re going to be able to develop our oil and gas reserves are to do it ethically, to do it right, responsibly, and that comes down to Alaskans doing their homework, reading the constitution, and again remembering who owns the resources per our constitution,” Palin said.

She said she plans to more publicly share her views on the debate soon so that a national audience can be aware of the issue.