Tax-loving journalist has an expired business license?


Larry Persily, who writes op-eds regularly for the Anchorage Daily News, has a new column out on his usual theme of “Alaska needs to tax Hilcorp.”

Persily is the owner of Good Journalism, LLC, which is the owner of the Wrangell Sentinel LLC, a paper he bought decades ago, sold, and then repurchased a few years ago.

The Wrangell Sentinel’s business license has been expired since 2022, or so it shows at the Alaska Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.

Persily is running his newspaper business through an LLC, just like Hilcorp owner and CEO Jeff Hildebrand is running Hilcorp as an LLC, and Persily is not paying personal income tax or corporate income taxes for either Good Journalism, LLC or the out-of-compliance Wrangell Sentinel, LLC.

The difference is that Jeff Hildebrand invests hundreds of million of dollars into Alaska, employees thousands of Alaskans, and even kept the lights on in Southcentral Alaska during the near-blackouts during the worst of the winter cold snap this past season, ensuring that natural gas kept flowing to Enstar at the same price, not gouging the natural gas company, which was having trouble meeting demand from customers. That was during a critical time when Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the Municipality of Anchorage had turned down the heat in public buildings. Hilcorp never got credit for stepping up and supplying the demand even without a contract.

“All corporations, whether publicly owned biggies like Amazon and Walmart, or privately owned moneymakers like Hilcorp, big law firms or medical practices, are able to succeed at their businesses, in great part, because government provides services the companies and their employees and customers use, such as roads, ports and police. Government also provides financial assistance that their lower-paid employees need,” Persily argues in his op-ed, which argues that LLCs should be taxed.

Unappreciated by pro-taxers, companies like Hilcorp also provide services to the public, such as heat, but there are those like Persily who are wedded to the idea that government has a duty to skim capital from any company that risks investment in a tough-to-operate place like Alaska.

The additional irony is that Persily’s op-ed ran in the Anchorage Daily News, also organized as an LLC by the Binkley Co., which is also an LLC. Persily is arguing that the newspaper, which can barely stay afloat in this era and depends on grants from nonprofits to pay its journalists, should pay taxes to the state.

Persily is the go-to guy for Alaska journalists for a reliable quote from an “oil and gas expert,” having served as Federal Coordinator of the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects during the entire Obama Administration. He has worked on and off in government and journalism for most of his career. He worked for Rep. Mary Peltola when she first took office.


  1. Nice catch. But honestly, the hypocrisy is getting so thick from the “We love and trust govt with everything” crowd that I can hardly see my hand in front of my face anymore! And I am sure while they scream pro-Hamas slogans, they will equate my hand in front of my face as a salute from Germany 80 years ago…

  2. Since Hilcorp purchased BP’s assets in Alaska Jeff Hildebrand’s personal wealth has increased from $2B to $13.2B. By any measure our Constitution requires more $$$$’s to the State from Hilcorp

    • How specifically does the Alaska Constitution require “more $$$$’s to the State from Hilcorp” as a result of this purchase?

      • Well Mr. Hancock, you might profitably start by reading Article VIII, Sections 1 & 2, in the Alaska Constitution in answer to your question.
        You may not understand the language and meaning of the words but that’s OK. We’re a long way into modern times and plenty of folks don’t really apprehend the meaning of our constitution anymore. Heck, a big bunch of our elected politicians seem to think the Alaska Constitution is some sort of aspirational doctrine or maybe something like a rule of thumb. Think that’s wrong? Just reflect on the five pieces of legislation the Alaska House passed after midnight on the 122nd day of the legislative session. Not only was the legislation passed at a time obviously after the deadline established by the Alaska Constitution, you had legislators pontificating that it was OK to do so because nobody cared and wouldn’t sue to stop the unconstitutional adoption of the legislation.
        Ironically, that sentiment about folks not caring might be right. We’re collectively detached from operating in a sensible, rational and lawful manner in many regards up here in a lot of ways anymore. We’re just making law and policy up on an ad hoc way in some regards at this point and spending revenue we don’t actually have or that is unsustainable
        We truly get what we deserve in this little experiment in democracy.
        Alaska is increasingly run like a two-bit colony, often as not by goat roping political hacks.
        Oh well ………………

        • Joe is referring to the “maximum benefit” clauses that requires the resources of the state for the maximum benefit of Alaskans.

          That is somewhat more nuanced than “raise taxes on then until the leave” like we (Sarah Palin and aces) did previously.

          Maximum benefit to me is to tax reasonably like we did to build the permanent fund, not choke the golden goose until it dies.

          But I’m a dying breed that likes “basic sense” in public policy.

          • Thank you!
            The other consideration here is the “maximum benefit” is a universal across all sectors clause. If I understood this correctly the bill amendment this year essentially appears to have SINGLED out Hilcorp for more tax requirements.

            It should furthermore be pointed out that Mr. Persily’s argument of:
            “….are able to succeed at their businesses, in great part, because government provides services the companies and their employees and customers use, such as roads, ports and police.” is a specious argument.
            Ironically in the final analysis government by itself does nothing and creates nothing. It only has funds confiscated via taxes from already productive citizens to provide the constitutionally mandated infrastructure, common defense etc. So the argument should be that government can build roads and bridges, pay police and fire precisely because, they receive “income” via taxation AFTER a successful business has produced goods/services. Commerce goes on whether there is government created infrastructure or not. The selling or trading of goods and services is a old as mankind.

    • What??? What world are you from? He said pay more for what? If this is how you think business should be done I bet the boys at r&m were fainting from relief when you left.

  3. Another — that takes and doesn’t want to give back! Our Great State should be happy Hilcorp is doing business here and employing so many Alaskans.

    • I agree! A great company like Hilcorp doesn’t come along often! Royalties from the Kenai has aided our non-profit wildlife fund greatly! We support rescue groups, not only in Alaska, but Oregon, Washington and Idaho! Thanks to their continued support we have saved countless thousands of wild animals, rehabilitated them and released them back into their habitats! So much of what Hilcorp does is noteworthy, but unknown by the public. This is a great company! Dr. Myron G. Phillips, DVM (wildlife Support Charitable Trust)

      • Though I detest that any one man can accumulate 13 BILLION dollars, I admire the company’s support of nonprofits.

  4. Larry Persily has made a career off sucking at the government tit. Of course he is in favor of more taxes!

  5. Persily is right in line with Obama’s famous “You didn’t build that,” line. Attack the self employed because they use streets and sidewalks. Persily also fits in with the Leftists mantra of taxes are good, just don’t tax me, migrants are good as long as they’re not in my neighborhood. Defund the police but don’t touch my local precinct. Yup, all there.

    • Shouldn’t there be a level playing field between Hillcorp and Conoco-Phillips? Or are you against Conoco-Philips ?

  6. If government instead of Hilcorp had purchased BP’s Alaska holdings to operate the leases those BP assets would now be losing money and would owe no taxes. Anyone can look at the $70 million AIDEA North Slope investment, which the state calls Mustang, to see what expertise government brings to the table.

    There is absolutely nothing that prevents Alaskans who favor state income taxes to send checks to the Alaska Department of Revenue, Treasury Division. Wrangell Sentinel, LLC, Good Journalism, LLC, and the Anchorage Daily News can pay a tax right now and it will be put in the state general fund. Democrats like Larry Persily, who profess to want a state income tax actually want to tax the other guy. I would guess that Hildebrand doesn’t collect a PFD but most Alaska Democrats do.

    • In his essay on “The State”, which Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote during the revolutionary year of 1848 when socialist governments were promising the moon to French citizens, he sarcastically offered his own definition of what the state was:

      “The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

  7. My primary complaint about Mr. Persily is that some media, particularly Channel 2, offer him up as an “expert” on a wide variety of topics. He is not the only person to have worked in government in different roles. While not an unintelligent fellow, in the end he is just a guy with an opinion and little else. I am confident he has argued, with equal passion, for and against the development of North Slope natural gas, depending on who was paying him and what might be fashionable at the moment.

  8. Exactly how many jobs does Persily’s business provide? How many annual salaries has he created that contribute to taxes? Hilcorp profits may not provide much more in taxes than Persily’s LLCs, but the individual incomes created by Hilcorp that contribute to taxes is astronomical compared to Persily’s, not to mention the amount of corporation profits Hilcorp voluntarily invested back into the community in their time of need. I’m sure no good deed will go unpunished due to the diligence of Marxists like Persily.

    • As Alaska has no individual income tax and only certain boroughs or cities have sales taxes, not much of the money Hilcorp pays to it’s employees is paid to the State of Alaska in taxes.

      My experience with north slope workers is most are from the lower 48 and the only money they spend in Alaska is at the airport bars and restaurants.

  9. Try doing a little more reporting work. My state business license number is 1114385. It is valid through Dec. 31, 2024. It was issued in 2019. / Larry

    • Yes, Good Journalism LLC is shown exactly as you describe, in compliance. It is also shown as the parent company to Wrangell Sentinel, which has business license 2118797, expired … so two LLCs are on file at Division of Corporations. I am reporting on 2118797. -sd

        • This entire site is petty bickering amongst cheerleaders. That you might deem a specific degree of pettiness to be beneath a third party’s reasonable standards is pretty funny.

          Look at 100% of the posts made by Masked Avenger. Each of them petty, ill informed and little more than a caveman’s ad hominem yet Chip’s drivel gets posted here constantly as if he might eventually hide a useful perspective amongst the effluvia that his typical posts consist of.

          Look at supporters rallying behind a now convicted felon.

          Look at the dreck that Persily shakes out of his sleeve.

          It is childish of you to label Suzanne petty or silly and it’s magnanimous of her to allow your highly subjective criticism to survive moderation.

          Be that as it may, the LLC filing process s/b melded into the business license application process as it’s nothing more than a tax associated w/ filing a repetitive document ad infinitum. Worse yet, that division is populated by slackers that take a minimum of 30 days to respond to the simplest of concerns and exclusively because they know they can. They even have a statement on their website that says something to the effect that their response times suck but they suck worse when it’s nice out.

  10. Come on, I sent you the correct information about my business license yesterday. I have one that is valid through Dec. 31, 2024. In fairness, you should post the correction.

    • Come on Larry, stop complaining and pay for your business license. Surely someone who owns a newspaper can easily afford to pay his tax to the state in the form of a license. It’s important that we all pay a fair share in these troubling times. The only right thing to do here is to pay for your delinquent license then post some proof that not only did you pay but you also paid any infraction or penalties that may have accumulated while you were operating without said license. Someone who has as much platform as you surely should have no problem paying a little more……you know for the greater good.

  11. Not a Persily fan, but the difference between journalism and oil is that oil actually makes massive returns in Alaska while journalists are broke, or are going broke.

    The assets acquired by Hilcorp were doing just fine without the S corp tax advantage, so Hilcorp should pay the same as the other players in Alaska.

    Ok, Larry, pay your $50 dollar license fee.

  12. Journalists like to show that the gross profits of oil companies are saying it like this: X Company made $X billion in revenues in 2023. What is better is saying the return on investment like: X company made 6% return on investment of $X billion. That shows the real story. When comparing industries I think we, as the public, would learn more about the industries making money by doing this correct comparison. Come on Larry, do what you advocate!

      • Not so fast, Jeff. The story — with receipts — refers to License 2118797 for the Wrangell Sentinel, not for License 1114385 Good Journalism, LLC, which is up to date.


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