Having just read two commentaries on either side of the oil tax initiative, I know from experience that the only way Alaska can get a fair share for the sale of its oil is to keep it simple and far from the influence of the North Slope’s powerful oil companies. When you have a governor and Legislature dominated by Big Oil, you end up with a confusing and complicated piece of (I can’t say what I really want to call it) garbage such as the oil tax under SB 21. Alaska is the only significant oil-producing state with an oil tax based on net profits. All others have a simple tax based on a percentage of the gross value of the oil produced.
It makes no sense that Alaska’s North Slope legacy fields are the most profitable oil fields in North America and likely anywhere in the world, yet Alaska receives the lowest return of any of the states and certainly any other countries.
I challenge the oil companies right here and right now to show Alaskans any other state or country that is more profitable or receives less actual or effective rate of return for its very valuable oil. What’s at stake here is the Legislature has to balance the budget and, having spent $18 billion in savings, they will try to pass income and/or sales taxes and take a bigger slice of the Permanent Fund. The question is: Will we let the oil companies off scot-free? Vote yes for Alaska’s fair share.
Former Alaska legislator
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