The Alaska Supreme Court has sided with the group hoping to rewrite Alaska’s oil and gas tax laws in a dispute with Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and the Alaska Division of Elections over the measure’s summary language for the upcoming election ballot.
The dispute was brought to the lower Superior Court by the group Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share over what they said was an incorrect and biased summary of the ballot measure that would appear on the election ballot. The initiative group challenged three of the four key points in the summary language for Ballot Measure 1 that was crafted by the Division of Elections.
Superior Court Judge William F. Morse ruled with the ballot initiative group and ordered Meyer and the Division of Elections to change the summary language but the matter was appealed to the higher court where the group’s complaint was affirmed in the Wednesday ruling.
“It is unfortunate we had to bring suit against Lieutenant Governor Meyer to get him to fulfill his duty to provide a true and impartial summary of the Fair Share Act,” initiative chair Robin Brena said in a statement. “But this is a victory for the voters. Today the Supreme Court upheld their right to an unbiased ballot summary. We are confident that as voters get the facts, they will vote yes for Alaska’s Fair Share.”
If approved by Alaskan voters in November, the Fair Share Act would increase oil and gas production taxes from a minimum of 0-4% to 10% for the state’s three largest oil fields on the North Slope.
The ballot measure has gained the support of business officials and some legislators who seek a change in structure but has faced harsh criticism from industry officials who fear it may push investors away from the state.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.