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Readers write: Letters to the editor, July 31

Alaska Dispatch News
LETTERS: Readers duck and weave to try landing their own blows in a duel between columnists. Smithsonian National Postal Museum image

SB 21 battle is over who gets $8 billion

$8 billion. That’s what this oil tax fight is over. When SB 21 was being considered in the Senate Resources Committee I asked the Department of Revenue to report what the state actually took in under ACES while it was in effect (2007-13) and compare that to what the state would have taken in had SB 21 been in effect instead. They produced an apples-to-apples comparison, using the same flowrates, price of oil, and expenditures. Revenue reported its findings in a letter.
The difference to us, the Alaskans who are the owners of the resource, over those seven years would have been $8 billion. That is money the oil industry wants for its shareholders. That is why they are spending $15 million to defeat the repeal effort.

$15 million is chickenfeed compared to $8 billion. 

Incidentally, $8 billion is about what Alaska spent those same years total on education. I think handing over the equivalent of our education budget to the shareholders of multinational oil companies is bad policy. That’s why I’m voting “Yes” on Ballot Measure One.

-- Sen. Hollis French
Anchorage

Election a tipping point for Sealaska

We, the Sealaska4, thank all of you who helped us elect one of our slate of candidates, Ross Soboleff, to the Sealaska Board of Directors. We appreciate those of you who spoke to us about the issues of our corporation and our future. We particularly thank our proxyholders and the individual volunteers who spent so much of your time. Thank you to the ANB and ANS leadership for helping define our campaign. We are especially grateful for the prayers of support.

This election is a tipping point for our corporation. We have defined our issues and ensuring that the corporation does not proceed without oversight or shareholder/owner participation. No longer will this corporation be run by a few for the benefit of a few. The Sealaska4 is gearing up for next year’s election and we anticipate a better campaign. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, there’s much to be done. Please continue to discuss with us your concerns and share with us your ideas for a better future for our shareholder/owners. We plan to be in direct contact with the new management and leadership of Sealaska, and intend to be a part of the turnaround to profitability. This will be our contribution to the company going forward.

-- The Sealaska4:
Margaret Nelson, Anchorage
Ross Soboleff, Juneau
Carlton Smith, Juneau
Karen Taug, Juneau

Alaskans hate ‘Big Oil’

We hate the royalties they pay the Permanent Fund.

We hate the dividend checks we get every year from the oil-funded Permanent Fund.

We hate the tax they pay to fund 90 percent-plus of the State of Alaska general fund.

We hate the thousands of direct and indirect jobs they bring to us.

We hate the millions they donate every year to Alaska-based charities.

We hate the scholarships they give our kids.

If you want to see “Big Oil” stop doing these things for Alaska, Vote Yes on One.

If you want Big Oil to do more of these things Vote No on One!

I encourage you to vote on Aug. 19.

I will be voting No on Ballot Measure 1.

-- Michael Jesperson
Anchorage

It’s time to repeal SB 21

There are strong feelings on both sides Ballot Measure 1, which is understandable given that billions upon billions of state revenues are at stake. 

I’ve seen ads against it saying, “Give the new oil tax a chance.” This vote is a referendum. A referendum repeals a law passed by the Legislature and must be done within a certain amount of time after a law is passed. An initiative done at a later date cannot address financial matters like taxes. So this is it! This is our only real chance to repeal this law.  

Also I’d like to point out higher taxes can encourage investment. This might sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out. If a business has, for example, $1 million in profit, it can either keep it and pay the taxes, or re-invest it and greatly reduce its tax burden. Lower taxes can encourage a business to keep its profits and go. 
I can’t see letting our state’s most valuable resource go away for less. And I’m thankful our state constitution gives us Alaskans this one chance to do something about it. 

-- Eric Middlebrook 
Bethel

Moore must not be silenced

Attempts at humor are often wild exaggerations of existing trends and would probably be better in a “Saturday Night Live” skit. However, I thought Shannyn Moore’s column of July 27 was to emphasize the brazen arrogance and lack of common sense the governor used in making some of his political appointments  -- definitely a trend.

Did I need the Hansen comment? Not really -- but it did hammer home her point.

Did I take it as an affront to women? Absolutely not.

Shannyn Moore is the canary in the coal mine regarding Alaska politics. I hope neither Mr. Medred (July 29 column) nor anyone else “chills” the canary.

-- William Maxey
Anchorage

Current oil tax a success

The long-term future of Alaska depends on a healthy business environment for all companies both large and small. We have a current tax structure -- SB 21 -- that allows the large businesses -- oil companies -- to produce oil send it to market and make a reasonable profit. Small businesses -- vendors, suppliers -- support these larger businesses; in turn they too will be successful. All of these businesses employ Alaskans and in short we all benefit by having jobs to support our families. I will be voting “No on 1” to help allow my family and all Alaskans a chance to enjoy this state for the long term.

 Why would you want to slow down or stop this success story?

-- Bob Barndt
Eagle River

Keep oil from timber’s fate

Many Alaskans believe that regardless of how high the taxes or how onerous government policies are the oil companies will never leave Alaska while there is still oil in the ground. Not too many years ago Alaska’s timber industry was our second-largest industry and generated thousands of well-paying jobs. Today’s market for Alaskan logs has never been better. Alaska’s trees are still here but unfortunately Alaskan’s timber industry is all but extinct and so are thousands of well-paying jobs. The cause? Government policies! Vote No on 1 and save Alaska’s jobs.

-- John Sturgeon, an endangered member of Alaska’s logging industry 
Anchorage

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter for consideration, e-mail letters@adn.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity.