On Sept. 8, I enjoyed ADN’s journalistic theater that pitted brothers Joe and Charlie Paskvan on opposite sides of Ballot Measure 1, the Fair Share Act, that will increase Alaska’s tax revenue from the North Slope’s largest oil fields. Joe favored a “yes” vote on Measure 1, and noted that companies such as ConocoPhillips have a higher profit margin in Alaska than elsewhere. Charlie supported a “no” vote and argued that a favorable tax policy ensures higher oil production and state revenue.
Alaska enacted SB 21, our current oil tax system, in 2014. Oil companies supported the legislation and promised a boom in North Slope production. However, in 2014, the North Slope produced 478,000 barrels of oil per day, whereas in 2019, daily production had fallen to 451,000 barrels. As Charlie noted, the number of rigs on the North Slope is at an all-time low. The promises that industry made in support of SB 21 have not come to pass. Production at the North Slope’s legacy fields will be driven by age of the fields and the world oil market, not changes to the state’s tax structure.
Oil companies will use fear of reduced production and loss of jobs to try and convince Alaskans to vote against the Fair Share Act. We’re suckers if we fall for it again.
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