To the editor:
Gov. Parnell continues his name calling. Last spring, he called the Senate bipartisan majority the “Do Nothing Senate.” Yesterday in Anchorage, before cheering industry support crowds, he identified Senate majority members by name, including Sen. Joe Paskvan, as senators “with a spine for decline.” The senators’ crime is that they are serious people who ask serious questions and expect serious answers.
Parnell began this year’s legislative session with another cute jingle, calling for the Legislature to act quickly and not “allow the paralysis of analysis to set in.” It soon became clear this jingle was all Parnell was going to provide as justification for giving industry a tax break of $2 billion per year. The Senate had to hire worldwide energy expert Pedro van Meurs to answer questions the administration was unable or unwilling to answer. In a Juneau Empire story (Feb. 15), van Meurs stated that Alaska’s three big oil producers were not trying to increase production, but instead were “harvesting” as much as they can and “have been doing that for many years.” He added, “Alaskans have to realize that the three major oil companies are drawing money out of Alaska at the absolute maximum rate that is technically and economically justifiable.” He concluded that industry profits generated in Alaska are not being reinvested here. It’s not surprising Parnell didn’t provide any economic analysis —
$2 billion per year without increased production.
Commenting on the study, Sen. Bert Stedman, co-chairman of Senate Finance with Sen. Paskvan, stated: “It should be very clear now why the Senate took such a strong position and wanted the information before we took action.” Senate President Gary Stevens said: “It would have been a disaster if we passed House Bill 110.” Both Stedman and Stevens are Republican leaders in the bipartisan coalition.
In my opinion, Sens. Paskvan and Thomas have displayed backbone, along with the other members of the Senate majority. They deserve our support on Election Day and during the upcoming session, when the governor will continue to disparage those who ask inconvenient questions.