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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Giving away oil money

  • Author: Don Neal
    | Opinion
  • Updated: June 10
  • Published June 10

The recent commentary by Robin Brena threw a welcome light on our state's outrageous waste of its resources. The bare numbers that Brena presented cannot be argued with, although they can apparently be obscured by the oily birds who seem to infest our government. And I can't really blame the oil industry for its attempts to maintain the most favorable profit margin possible — after all, that's what they're paid to do. I do blame those in the pay of the people of Alaska whose ultimate loyalty seems to be to the oil industry, rather than to the people who hired them.

If we break down the figures presented in the commentary, we have Alaska receiving (in the five years since Senate Bill 21) $7.2 billion less in royalties than in the previous five years. In production taxes, we received $19 billion during the five years before SB 21, and minus $82 million since (we paid the industry in tax credits).

Since the industry paid the state only $262 million in corporate income taxes during the five years after SB 21, corporate taxes are hardly a factor.

I know that there are many other factors to consider, such as the price of oil on the world market, but the figures submitted by Brena are based on a pre-crash economy.

The numbers show that our state had a 5-year decrease in oil revenue (compared to the five years before SB 21) of roughly 27 billion dollars. I wonder what we could do with those dollars now?

In summation, Alaskans are the lowest paid among the "oil rich" states and nations of the world, mainly because oil interests were here and influencing our lawmakers from the days of the first discovery. Oil is cheap now, but it won't always be, and we've got a bunch of it! Let's stop giving it away.

Don Neal

Anchorage

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