Schierhorn, Jansen: Make no mistake, Ballot Measure 1 is an attack on our state - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Schierhorn, Jansen: Make no mistake, Ballot Measure 1 is an attack on our state

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The Vote Yes on 1 crowd wants us to believe that this initiative is a fight between the oil industry and Alaskans. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

This ballot measure is a vicious and dangerous attack on Alaska’s economy, on our way of life and our economic future. The oil industry can invest its capital anywhere in the world and they will if we drive them away with uncompetitive oil taxes.

But where do we go? This is where we live, where we have our jobs, our homes and where we plan a future for our kids and grandkids. Where do we go when we drive away investment and oil production declines? 

This is clearly an Alaska fight, not an oil company battle. 

We are co-chairs of KEEP Alaska Competitive, a 5,000-member group of Alaska businesses, labor unions, Native corporations and individual Alaskans who understand that competitive taxes on our resource industries are essential to our future economy, our jobs and our PFD.

We are not the oil industry and we take no funding from the oil industry. We are a grassroots organization that provides information to Alaskans about the importance of investment, jobs and oil production.  We work very hard to secure an economic future for our employees, neighbors, children and grandchildren. 

The oil industry has paid about $3 billion per year in taxes and royalties to Alaska in each of the past two years. They have plans to substantially increase investment on the North Slope in the future that will provide jobs and increase production substantially “if” we don’t screw it up with a major increase in oil taxes. 

Alaska is a high-cost place to operate, especially on the North Slope. Our oil needs to move through an expensive 800-mile pipeline, then by ship to the West Coast. Other oil provinces have much lower costs of production and transportation. 

Alaska already has the highest government take of all the states at low oil prices and among the highest tax rates in the world. Increasing taxes by $1 billion per year will make Alaska uncompetitive and will reduce or eliminate new investment in our state. 

Other industries, like seafood, mining tourism and the thousands of small service companies, are watching this attack on the oil industry and asking: “are we next?” Why should we invest here? Why would anyone invest in a state under attack by people who want to kill our businesses?

Without new investment, production will decline, jobs will disappear, state revenues will shrink and PFDs will be a thing of the past. 

The coronavirus has turned the world upside down. There are 40,000 fewer jobs in Alaska today than there were one year ago. Alaska is one of the top five states most negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

There are 33% fewer businesses in Alaska than there were in January 2020. Oil prices are extremely low and are forecast to remain low. Why would we want to further damage our economy and kick our major industry when it is down? This is the wrong time to raise taxes on any industry, including the oil industry. 

Please go to our website,, and study the impact of the ballot initiative and vote no on ballot measure 1 on Nov. 3.  Alaska’s future depends on it. 

Joe Schierhorn is the Chairman and CEO of Northrim Bank and Co-Chairman of the KEEP Alaska Competitive Coalition

Jim Jansen is the Chairman of the Lynden Companies and Co-Chairman of the KEEP Alaska Competitive Coalition

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Latest comments

  • For too long the State of Alaska has been getting jipped by big oil companies while they make record profits.

    • Record profits ??

      Exxon just announced its second consecutive quarter of 1 billion plus……losses. Chevron lost 8.7 billion last year.
      Conoco earned 2.3 billion and BP lost 21.94 billion.

      Does that sound like record profits to you ?

      • That’s a drop in the bucket for them

    • From the woman’s perspective; after living through the wine, roses, money for schools, money for performing arts, industry intelligent men and women dedicating their time, energy and resources to their community….

      Vote NO on Ballot Measure 1

      It takes a lot of collateral, paid off equipment and human energy for oil exploration. Oil is crafted from cash, blood, sweat, tears and risk. If you purposely want drive them away, then they’ll go to some third-world country or Nebraska (with less restrictive policies) and take their money and talent elsewhere.

      • The oil companies are like an unfaithful husband…if there was a 20 year old in town willing to spread her legs for him, he’d be there EVERY night, drilling! The fact that big oil is still here reveals that Nebraska is not as willing to spread her legs as you suggest. As for the third world countries…you lay down with them and you get up with fleas…or worse! No Shirley Temple, Alaska has lots of VIRGINS (oil fields) and the oil companies will be sniffing around for a LONG time to come.

  • Fellow Alaskans,

    Some years back when Sean Parnell was running against Bill Walker for Governor I met Paul Quennell, who worked directly for Janet Weiss BP President during our sign waving.

    Shortly thereafter, when I foolishly caught the bug to run for Statehouse and had conversation with Paul regarding the following;

    I. Asked Paul, “If I get elected to the state House, how can I help Alaska in the relationship with BP while seeking to put more oil in the pipeline?

    His response was as follows:

    Alaska can’t make her financial problems BP’s.

    We need to get our financial house in order.

    BP doesn’t need to be here.

    Accordingly, Alaska has continued her spending spree without heeding the sound advice of many solid businesses that employ many, but are teetering on the brink of insolvency due to the operational spend. BP is Gone, Hilcorp has taken over the BP operation. The message is clear as to Alaska’s financial future based in oil.

    You can’t make your spending problems theirs. Take heed Juneau.

    Time is not your friend!

  • Toadyism is alive and well in Alaska.

  • When you have the big oil companies, ( Conoco & Hilcorp ) that benefit from
    lower oil taxes and other businesses that benefit from From the oil companies ie, Lynden ( owned by Jansen) and the CEO of Northrim Bank arguing against Prop 1, it makes me very suspicious. I read that the anti Prop 1 people are spending 10 million dollars opposing the proposition while its supporters are spending less than a million.
    I was opposed but am starting to reconsider. As the English saying goes, “me thinks they doth protest too much” or something along those lines.

    • Well, if doth protests, the doth knows, little money makes little projects and this is not the Lower 48.

      If you’ve ever had a man in your family work on a rig, work on the field, on a platform or any other industry related job you would understand.

      10 million is paltry compared to the amount of money invested for each platform rig.

      And, industry runs Alaska.

  • Is there an objective source for the 40k fewer jobs comment and the 1/3 fewer business comment?

    The latter seems strikingly suspect.

  • The GOP, SB-21 and Alaska Big Oil have destroyed Alaska.They have looted the taxpayers, looted the budget reserve and looted the PF dividend and Alaskans are allowing them to get away with it.

  • We need to realize that whenever our government needs help with their spending problems, it is not time to tax the oil companies. It is time to reduce spending. Oil can be had in a lot easier and cheaper ways than the North Slope. Perhaps these folks who chant ” it’s our oil ” should spend some time on the slope (in January) and see how much fun it can be. It is also very impressive how clean the whole operation is, not like the rest of the world. Again, the oil companies should not have to make up for our budget shortfalls. It is like a bad landlord raising rents to make up for his own shortfalls. Irresponsible.

    • 2nd. The State’s criminally irresponsible spending habits are not an oil company’s problem.

      It would be nicer though if those that came out as supportive voices didn’t make up (at least one) supporting statistic. That’s cheating.

  • The business and job stats seem curious. Where are those from?

    • Joe and Jim… Those stats you’ve published seem bogus (particularly the 1/3 fewer businesses stat) and those of us that watch such things would like confirmation that you didn’t pull that one out of your heinder. Please provide a source.

      • Apparently they’re not going to answer you. Apparently the numbers are made up, along with most of their argument. Scare tactics meant to manipulate people who won’t use their brain to ask questions. The worst example of this is the industry paid for ad with a woman, whose ONLY qualification seems to be that she’s a baby machine, claims she’s “scared”. The day WILL come when these people learn what it’s really like to be scared.

  • Sign me up!

  • Alaska does not have an income problem; Alaska has a spending problem.

  • “We are not the oil industry and we take no funding from the oil industry.”

    BUT! We make a load of money doing business with them!

    Jansen especially (always) cracks me up.

    As far as the PDF goes, it’s a goner any way you look at it. These guys are as scrupulous with the truth as Tom Collier was. I enjoy stating that in the past tense ret Collier.

  • When you start out with a lie, it’s hard to believe anything else you write. “The oil industry can invest its capital anywhere in the world”…NO, THEY CAN’T! The oil companies invested untold millions in the Mideast, Venezuela, etc, ETC in the 1950’s and 60’s and what do they have to show for it??? NOTHING!!! Their investments and assets were seized by the host countries in what was called “NATIONALIZATION”! There is literally NOWHERE else to go except for the US or Canada. If Canada was a serious competitor then we wouldn’t be planning a railroad to help them sell their expensive low quality ‘tar’. We have the last of the virgin fields and it’s accessible via the pipeline. The oil companies aren’t going anywhere! This is proven by their, and your, lies and scare tactics. If the oil companies had their way the Saudis would still be riding around on camels. There is NO reason for Alaska to want for anything.

    • So, you have no idea what you are talking about, because you fail to recognize that the pipeline has been the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in order to maintain it and upgrade it, Much of the investment has been necessary to make it capable of operating with a throughput level that would be impossible with the original design. The State of Alaska has, and does, receive more than adequate income form oil to run this state. The welfare state created in Juneau by politicians attempting to maintain their hold on their offices is the true source of the problem. Supplying everything from transportation to fuel to healthcare and food to hundreds of groups of people where there exist no economies is destined for failure and is the self perpetuating growth problem that is the reason Alaska is in financial trouble today.

  • Many of the liberals and Democrats
    follow a standard belief that it’s a good thing to punish oil companies by imposing higher corporate taxes on them. “It’s our oil,” they opine.
    But when you ask them where they think the extra revenue will go, they shrug their shoulders.
    The extra revenue will go to pay for enlarged government.

  • Nowhere else to go? Except the U.S. and Canada? Obvious lack of understanding of the oil industry. Assume however, that there is “no where else to go except the U.S. and Canada.” That doesn’t equate to Alaska….costs a boatload less money to bring a well on in Texas than it does in Alaska. Fewer midstream costs as well…and, wait for it, larger market downstream too:…along with much less opposition from every corner.

    So many in Alaska forget the days before oil paid the operating budget for the State…keep increasing taxes and we’ll see those days again.

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