Caution: Democrats going after oil taxes


Senate Democrats and others who should know better simply cannot give up on the notion of sticking the oil industry with more taxes, which, in their view, would fix Alaska’s fiscal mess.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy rightly denied their request to add oil tax reform to his second special call. His reason: There was not enough time to give the question its due.

The reality: It is a lousy idea.

Milking the industry for $1.2 billion more in the belief that – presto-chango – Alaska’s problems will vanish is silly. It already has been proved wrong. Painfully. It is unclear what the senators do not understand about the axiom: tax more, get less. They certainly should understand; it is what Alaska endured for a stretch, and with disastrous results, under Gov. Sarah Palin’s miserably failed Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share oil tax.

AGIA’s back-breaking tax structure sent industry investment elsewhere and triggered plummeting production and revenue at the same time oil provinces all over the world were booming. Senate Bill 21 thankfully put an end to AGIA, which contributed at times to a 90 percent marginal tax rate at higher oil prices. The change was vital and long overdue, but industry-haters and the Left – are they not the same? – have howled since, even trying, and failing, to have it repealed.

The consequences of irresponsibly returning to any version of a failed tax system that retards oil production, investment and revenue is staggering. It would affect us all, in every corner of the economy just as the industry is bringing online new fields on the North Slope.

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  1. The only thing that would change with the dims oil tax hike would be the further spiral down of State of Alaska revenue and everything attached to it. Including the dim/lib wants and wishes of “more and more” to squander on their socialist programs, outrageous ‘public employee’ and ‘academic’ spending insanity and associated fiscal problems. One must wonder why, if the dims want more $$ into the coffers of state largess, why won’t they promote a legitimate increase in mineral, oil and other resource extraction/production in Alaska? Taxes/royalties aplenty there, without destroying the ‘in place’ revenue stream. Kind of like that old saying “biting off your nose to spite your face”. Simple answer: The PFD is more convenient to fund their BS, without them having to do the job they were elected to do. Socialist mentality never ceases to amaze me. They would rather take the easier/dim way and screw over the citizens of Alaska. The AMHS is a perfect example. Piss off the residents who rely on the subsidized system for sustaining/improving their life style and the tourists who depend on the subsidized system for cut rate vacationing, then attempt to blackmail the state/citizens into their “gimme” insanity, to elevate the AMHS employees above ‘ordinary’ Alaskans, more than they already are. I call BS!!! Alaskans deserve better than that. Another old saying: ” Go for what you know”, is appropriate. Unfortunately, the dims appear to never have heard that.

  2. Tony Knowles was the guy who started giving the oil companies tax breaks, so they’d drill up here. The oil industry has basically had a free ride ever since, and they never pay their way, and this is one reason why the people won’t get their deserved PFD revenues. We’ll be getting a watered down version, as has been the case for several years now. It’s time to make gas and oil pay for what they’re doing here. They’re already wealthy beyond belief, while the people get poorer every year. Things are rotten in Denmark. It’s the rich robbing the poor, pure and simple. It’s way past time for them to pay their fair share, or get the hell outta here and stop destroying our pristine wilderness, so they can get richer off money promised to us, many years ago. And to the legislators, quit stealing our money. It’s up to us to decide, not you! You’re a bunch of thieves, too.

    • Kathy,
      Those oil company tax breaks are called incentives. Incentives to invest more and expand exploration/production in Alaska. When those incentives are removed, the oil companies just go somewhere else that offers a better deal. Very simple. Wealth is relative. The companies must make money for their shareholders or they’re out of business. The State receives ample $$ to run, without stealing the PFD. It’s a mismanagement problem, not revenue. If you want to ‘get’ more money, support pebble, ANWR, more responsible mineral & natural resource development, to name a few. Above all, quit spending more than revenue. The PFD will take care of itself if the sticky fingers leave it alone. The State has made tons of money off oil. What other state has almost $70 billion stashed away? Fortunately, for now, the dims can’t get their hands on it or it would be gone too. They (dim legislators) are the ones responsible for the poor fiscal condition of Alaska, not a shortage of oil companies paying their fair share. Try not to be jealous of oil companies success at what they do. If you want more of their proceeds, buy some of their stocks.

      • 1.8 billion dollars in incentives? It’s a handout.


        Where is the return on that investment.

        • Art,
          The return on that investment is in the bank and investment accounts in Alaska. Handout? That’s what dims are calling the PFD, when actually it’s a dividend to the shareholders of Alaska. That dividend (PFD) goes right into the Alaskan economy and improves all kinds of Alaskan citizens’ lives and businesses. Currently it’s being claimed as the property of liberal/dim politicians who want to squander it on their socialist agenda. Isn’t that what the big squabble is about? And, by the way, Governor Dunleavy isn’t a “party of one”. He’s the leader of the voting majority that put him there for a reason. To save Alaska.

      • Let the oil companies go somewhere else, then, instead of letting them rob us and steal our resources. When the Exxon-Valdez oil spill happened in ’89, (and I helped with the cleanup), spilling 11 million gallons of crude, these same oil companies didn’t pay back the people for their damages for over 20 years, when they had the money in their pockets. After 14 years of lawsuits and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Exxon only owed $507.5 million. That was only about 12 hours of revenue for the giant oil company. That’s GREED. The people were left in the dirt. We’re still being left in the dirt. It’s way past time for them to honor Jay Hammond’s Permanent Fund Dividend Program and give the people what was promised them, and stop letting our greedy legislators steal if from us. They can still make their money, but give us our money back, you Rotten Rascals!

  3. Long ago I drove through Canada and tried to find the cheapest gas in each town. The prices were all exactly the same- expensive. I thought Canada had lots of oil. I remember gas in Saudi was like 25 cents at the time. I assumed it was due to some Carter-esqe windfall profits tax. After some digging I found that Canada SUBSIDIZED the industry along with fishing. So that explained all those Petro Canada stations. They almost ruined the industry then turned around and controlled it with carrot and stick. But it didn’t make any difference at the pump.
    I can only guess why the six figure energy guys and the tax vampires don’t just pick a % number and lock it in for long term and get rid of all the other noise. And make access available.

  4. The progressive surcharge of ACES on oil corporations’, excessive profits has to be brought back to balance the budget.

  5. The only grab bag the left has is MORE TAXES every time, everywhere the first and only answer is MORE TAXES.

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