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Industry trade groups appeal to Alaska Supreme Court to fight oil-tax ballot measure

Industry trade groups are appealing a recent judicial decision to the Alaska Supreme Court as they seek to invalidate some voter signatures for a ballot measure aiming to raise taxes on the state’s largest oil producers.

The Resource Development Council for Alaska and five other organizations argue that some signature gatherers for the “Fair Share” ballot measure were paid more than the $1 allowed for each signature under state law.

Some of those signature-gatherers also filed false affidavits testifying they had complied with the cap, violating state law, the groups assert in a 10-page motion before the Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews on Thursday ruled in favor of state election officials and “Vote Yes For Alaska’s Fair Share,” the group seeking to raise oil production taxes.

Matthews ruled that the free-speech rights of petition signers should not be undermined because a signature gatherer failed to meet technical statutory requirements.

The proposed law is set to appear before voters in the Nov. 3 general election.

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