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Alaska oil's value

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Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 1:00 am | Updated: 11:54 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Nov. 1, 2012

To the editor:

I’m writing in regards to Gov. Sean Parnell’s and the Republican Party’s $2 billion-per-year, $20 billion-total tax giveaway to Big Oil, with absolutely no requirement in return for investment in infrastructure, production or local hire.

First, we can avoid this by electing the best candidates for the job next Tuesday, including those who support the Senate bipartisan coalition, which has successfully blocked the tax giveaway previously. Here in the Interior, the candidates who have promised to work to keep that money in Alaska are, for senator, Anne Sudkamp, Joe Paskvan and Joe Thomas, and, for the House, David Guttenberg, Bob Miller and Scott Kawasaki.

Second, let’s take a look at the chart, “Oil taxes compared,” in the article titled “Toxic climate,” which appeared on page F-1 in the News-Miner on Sunday, Oct. 28. Out of 51 countries or localities which produce oil, we’re listed 13th most expensive in terms of tax receipts at an oil price of $120 per barrel.

However, one issue I have yet to see addressed in the oil tax question is the fact that, here in Alaska and in the United States as a whole, we experience peaceful transitions of government: no coups, no revolutions. Of the 38 regimes on the chart that are less expensive than Alaska, nearly half are dictatorships or theocracies, or have a history of violent revolutions. In all of those categories, often those in power or the new government nationalize (take over ownership of) foreign companies’ profitable assets and operations, without any reimbursement or recourse. I expect that corporate planners take risk of nationalization into account when deciding where in the world to invest. As a result, Alaska begins to look much more attractive than many of the cheaper places to invest, despite our citizenry claiming our “clear and equitable share.”

Remember to vote this coming Tuesday, and do your homework before entering that voting booth.

Kevin Ayres

Fairbanks

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