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Gov. Palin: Check out these op-eds on SB21 and vote YES on Prop 1 tomorrow!

Posted by Dr. Fay on August 18, 2014

Posted on Governor Palin’s Facebook page this afternoon:

Sarah Palin
Photo: Alaskans, please check out these great op-eds on SB 21 and remember to vote YES on Prop 1 tomorrow! Thank you, Alaska! - Sarah Palin

Here are excerpts from the articles that Governor Palin recommended:

Vote Yes; Alaskans have no bananas

John Havelock                    August 9, 2014


The banana, a fruit common in the republics of the tropical isthmus south of Mexico, was not well known in the United States or Europe until the late nineteenth century.  In the 1890s, a few, well-funded entrepreneurs found that they could reap enormous profits, using dirt cheap Honduran and Guatemalan labor to harvest and load bananas on ships for this entirely new market. The men who developed this trade formed political alliances with key elites in the region taking government out of the equation in distribution of profits. This experience gave rise to the phrase “banana republic” to describe a form of government dominated by a few private corporations.

The Territory of Alaska had equivalent experiences, first with the great copper and gold mining enterprises of the Guggenheim trust and then with domination by the canned salmon industry. At the constitutional convention, Bob Bartlett, a key figure in the statehood movement and later U.S. senator, famously warned the delegates against letting a repetition occur in the infant state.


The 1967 Prudhoe Bay discoveries were greeted with enthusiasm and relief. Opposition to statehood had been grounded in the argument that Alaska was too poor to maintain the essential services required for its vast area. The earlier discoveries in 1962 on the Kenai Peninsula offered some promise to the new state that money would be available to supplement the state income tax, measured as 10 percent of the federal, then the largest source of funds for the new state.  But Prudhoe Bay assured the success of statehood and required Alaskans to take their first real look at a fair state share, conscious of industry resistance and the risk of becoming an oiled banana republic. Bill Egan and the Republican governor with whom he joisted for office, Wally Hickel, both grew up in the atmosphere of concern for corporate domination.

Egan, in the early seventies, had to fight for Alaska’s long-term interest in the context of tension between a public demanding that revenue concerns be swept aside so the pipeline and its construction jobs would begin and his own concern that the state retain a “fair share” of the oil revenue.

The tax negotiations came to a head in 1973.  Big Oil obviously “owned” a block of legislators. Two leading Republicans, House Speaker Tom Fink and Sen. Cliff Groh, among others, were not. They led their party in a bipartisan legislative endorsement of a “fair share” negotiated by Egan against oil companies arguing for lower taxes. The compromise was endorsed in a special session that summer.

What is most remarkable about the oil tax reduction bill passed last year is that no comparable hard-bargaining between Big Oil and the administration occurred. In a political accident, Gov. Palin’s resignation, state leadership went to Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, formerly an oil company lobbyist. Reelected, Parnell has blurred the distinction between his old job and the new, becoming an immediate advocate for the new tax reductions put forward in 2013 by the three corporations that control North Slope production. The governor pushed through the Big Three bill even though it required the shameful vote of oil company employees serving in the legislature to pass.

Under those circumstances, it is not surprising that more than 40,000 people signed a petition to repeal Senate Bill 21, the referendum now on the primary election ballot as Ballot Measure 1.

As Gov. Egan would have reminded us, the people need to vote “yes.” Alaska is not yet a banana republic — or is it?

John Havelock served as Gov. Bill Egan’s Attorney General from 1970 through the 1973 special session.

Read more.

Clem Tillion: Alaska’s oil should not be its only future

Clem Tillion              August 9, 2014

I did not intend to say much on the subject of Ballot Measure 1, but when I received a call from a TV reporter who was looking for an old-timer who was voting no, all I could say was, “Keep looking!” I, for one, am a yes vote. This is not to say ACES should not be looked at by the lawmakers. It’s sloppy in spots, but I hardly think giving our resources away is the way to solve the problem.

When I ran for the Legislature back in 1962, oil only paid a 1 percent royalty. The first big find at Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula did not return enough to the state to pave the North Road from Kenai out to Swanson River. It did make millionaires of several people, and this I do not object to, for those who put their money on the line and win should get a fair reward.

The thing that seems to be overlooked here is that Alaska is the only land grant state in the union. Other states have land grant colleges, but we received 100 million acres in addition to the 3 million we were first offered at statehood to enable us as a people to go out and, in Alaska’s name, pick the land and its subsurface wealth to help sustain this vast area with so few people.

Bill Egan was our first governor, and he sent his Commissioner of Natural Resources Phil Holdsworth, out to pick the land that was to give Alaska a chance. He selected Prudhoe Bay among many other spots.

Our first big fight in the Legislature was to raise from 1 percent to 12.5 percent the royalty on all Alaska oil. It was a bitter fight. However, enough rebels on both side of the aisle were determined to not only raise the royalty but insist that on top of the people’s share, there should be enough tax to cover the cost of roads, sewer, police, and fire needed in the areas being developed. Some said the industry would leave, but what we asked for was no larger a share than a Texas rancher demanded on the land he owned. It was in place when the leases were granted for Prudhoe and our first $900-million windfall came to the state.


If we maximize the returns from our resources and manage them well, Alaska has a great future. Some of the bureaucratic stumbling blocks we burden all our business with are more counterproductive. Some are more harassment than regulation. This is what we should be addressing; not giving our children’s inheritance away. For those of us whose families have a lifetime commitment to Alaska, we feel yes is the only vote.

Clem Tillion is a retired commercial fisherman and a nine-term former Alaska state legislator. He lives in Halibut Cove, near Homer.

Read more.

Former oil and gas director: Why I’m voting Yes to repeal SB21

Kevin Banks                  August 12, 2014

I’m voting yes on Ballot Measure 1 to repeal SB 21, the so-called More Alaska Production Act. On Aug. 5, ADN published an article by reporter Richard Mauer titled “Revenue forecasts: ‘Facts’ used in oil tax debate may not be.” He described how both sides of the oil tax debate relied on Department of Revenue forecasts of oil production and tax revenues to support their arguments. But the “facts” reveal nothing about the effectiveness of SB 21 to change industry’s investment behavior to develop Alaska’s oil resources.

A yes vote will reinstate the ACES tax system that SB 21 was purported to “reform.” ACES was all about investment. ACES offered tax credits and tax deductions for new exploration and capital expenditures. But in order to get these credits, industry had to invest here — in Alaska. In return for these generous credits the ACES tax system allowed the state to share in future upside returns with industry.

SB 21 has no such mechanism to assure that tax savings realized by oil industry will be plowed back into Alaska. Instead, its advocates have had to appeal to forces of the free market to achieve this goal. But while the oil industry in Alaska is a free market, it is not a competitive market. In a truly competitive market (the Bakken shale oil play in North Dakota?) overall industry investment behavior is more predictable. The decisions taken by a single company have only a small impact on the industry as a whole. But the Alaska oil industry is dominated by the decisions taken by just three companies. We take it on faith that the Big Three always rely on cold calculations of rates of return and other investment metrics to budget for their Alaska projects, but overall corporate policies and the views of Wall Street stock analysts also hold sway in these decisions.


The central fact about Ballot Measure 1 is simple: it is about political influence. We face a choice to assert what we believe is best for ourselves and our political future or cede substantial control over this future to the oil industry.

The massive campaign spending from industry has made this so. We don’t need economic models and forecasts to answer the question, “What future candidate for any elective office will ignore the impact of this tidal wave of cash?” If this future candidate were to take even a moderate position unfavorable to the industry or assert too strongly to seek the “maximum benefit” of oil development for Alaskans, she will face an opponent overwhelmingly funded by oil industry corporate donations.

What choices will these candidates then offer? In the face of looming budget deficits, what programs will they propose to cut? Education? Public safety? Roads? Will industry outsource these services to government just as it outsources catering and accounting services?

I’m voting yes on Ballot Measure 1 because I want a future where I can debate issues with my neighbors that are important to us without the one-sided, disproportionately funded noise of endless political ads dividing us. We need to preserve the independence that is so much our character as Alaskans. I urge you to vote Yes on One on Aug. 19.

Kevin Banks recently retired from state government service, where he worked for several years for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. From 2006 to 2010 he directed the Division of Oil and Gas and had a hand in crafting how the ACES exploration tax credits worked to encourage investment from new players in Alaska’s North Slope oil industry. As a resource economist, head of the division’s commercial staff and an involved observer of the Alaska oil industry, he has provided advice to several governors about the state’s relationship with the oil industry in Alaska.

Read more.


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