Oct. 27, 2012
To the editor:
Locally, the great oil tax debate has been portrayed as a Republican vs. Democrat issue; however, nothing could be further from the truth.
Around Alaska, people from all parties and backgrounds have stood strongly against the giveaway of
$2 billion per year to Exxon, BP and ConocoPhillips. Strong and principled conservative legislators were also opposed to the oil tax giveaway. On the pages of this newspaper, Sen. Stedman, R-Sitka, published a community perspective titled, “Governor’s tax fix isn’t right.” He wrote, “Industry advocacy organizations such as the Alliance, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, the Resource Development Council and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce are working hard to represent the financial interests of the oil industry. In the meantime, I will continue doing what I was elected to do: represent the interests of those who own the resource — all Alaskans.”
Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, also opposed the giveaway. In a pivotal speech, Sen. Stevens said, “Many of us respectfully disagree with giving away up to
$2 billion in oil taxes without knowing what we will get in return.”
Acknowledging the constitutional mandate to develop and conserve our natural resources for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans, Sen. Stevens said, “It does not say for the maximum benefit of Big Oil. It does not say for the maximum benefit of our state’s banking institutions. It does not say for the maximum benefit of the Chamber of Commerce. It says for the maximum benefit of the people, our constituents, all of them, young and old, voters and non voters, Republicans and Democrats.”
In the House, the bill needed 21 “yes” votes to pass; it received just 22. Majority Leader Austerman, R-Kodiak, voted against the giveaway and so did Rep. Seaton, R-Homer, co-chairman of the Resources Committee. Three other members of the House majority voted against the governor’s giveaway. There has been opposition to the oil tax giveaway from both Republicans and Democrats.
On the most important issue in this election, please consider supporting those candidates who put Alaskans’ best interests before the profits of Exxon, BP and Conoco-Phillips.