Voters

“I Voted Today!” stickers dot a table at the Steese West precinct in the Bentley Mall on Tuesday. Aug 21, 2018.

The Alaska Supreme Court has once against sided with a group seeking to rewrite the state’s oil and gas tax laws. 

The high court late last week ruled Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and the Alaska Division of Elections must change summary language for Ballot Measure 1 that the group behind the measure called “biased” against the initiative. 

Now the Supreme Court has ruled that signatures gathered by the group while engaged in the separate court case still counted toward the total needed to get the initiative on the ballot, upholding a Superior Court ruling from earlier this year.  

The lower court case was the result of a lawsuit filed in April by a group of resource development industry stakeholders challenging the certification of the proposed ballot initiative.

The group, which includes the Alaska Chamber and the Resource Development Council for Alaska, alleged in the lawsuit that the signature-gathering process to get the initiative on the ballot violated state law and that the signatures shouldn’t count. 

In July, the Superior Court ruled against the industry group, and this Monday’s Supreme Court ruling upholds that decision. 

If approved by Alaska voters in November, the Fair Share Act would increase oil and gas production taxes to 10% from a minimum of zero to 4% for the state’s three largest oil fields on the North Slope. 

The ballot measure has gained the support of some business officials and some legislators who seek a change in structure but has faced harsh criticism from industry officials, some business officials and some elected officials who fear it may push investors away from the state. 

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.