It is good that a group has formed to defeat those who so short-sightedly would try to wring another billion dollars or so out Alaska’s North Slope oil producers.
Calling itself OneAlaska, the group’s members span a spectrum of business, Native, industry and union interests.
Chaired by Chantal Walsh, former director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas under former Gov. Bill Walker, the group aims to counter Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share, a group that hopes to get its hoped-for production tax changes on the 2020 ballot.
Headed by Robin Brena, an oil and gas attorney, the pro-tax group says if voters approve the measure it would bring Alaska about $1 billion in additional oil taxes every year, but BP, which operates Prudhoe Bay, estimates it would cost the industry twice that amount.
The measure also would mandate confidential papers such as tax returns and other documents from oil and gas producers, would be made public.
The Alaska’s Fair Share effort is the latest iteration of the anti-industry crowd’s incessant push to punish the industry that has fed Alaska for decades. This latest effort is as dumb as Sarah Palin’s Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share oil tax – and just as destructive.
ACES, if you will recall, was so aggressive – it contributed to a 90 percent marginal tax rate at higher oil pricest – that in the end, even Democrats agreed it needed work. It was among the highest oil production tax rates in the world at the time and voters finally repealed it. Why? Because the state suffered as other oil province around the world boomed.
There was less oil production in each and every year the punitive and confiscatory ACES tax was in effect. The same thing would happen now. The industry simply would shift its investments to a more friendly environment and, once again, Alaska would languish.
What is needed is more production, more oil in the trans-Alaska pipeline not more taxes that hurt Alaska and cost jobs.
We can only hope OneAlaska strongly can make that point to Alaskans.