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Alaska Economic Update: Keep Alaska Competitive (Editorial)

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We thought the fight was over when voters rejected Ballot Measure 1, which sought to repeal SB 21, the More Alaska Production Act. But here we are, less than two years later, facing another battle over oil taxes.

Gov. Bill Walker has introduced legislation that dramatically changes the tax system by raising the minimum production tax by 25 percent for some — and imposing a new tax for others — and repealing anchor tax credits.

This latest tax hike comes at a time when oil prices are hovering at prices not seen since the crash in the 1980s. It comes at a time when it costs more to produce a barrel of North Slope oil than it’s worth, which has led to negative cash flows.

We are asking you to continue our fight for Alaska’s future. We need you to contact your legislators and tell them that our resource industries are the last place we should look for funding as they are all swimming in an ocean of red ink.

We have updated the KEEP website, added new background information and posted a new fact sheet that explains the situation. You will also find additional information on our Facebook page and the E-blasts we will be sending on a regular basis.

Our state is facing a massive fiscal crisis unseen in more than 30 years. We applaud the Governor and legislators who are willing to put Alaska’s long-term economic future ahead of short-term politics. There is nothing more important for our state than to solve our budget deficit and build a sustainable economic future for our state, but we can’t do it on the backs of an ailing industry that already pays most of Alaska’s bills.

Fortunately, we have the financial resources to not only survive — but prosper. What we need now is the courage to responsibly continue to drive down the cost of state government and utilize the permanent fund as intended, to fund state services. We may eventually need to pay taxes ourselves; however, the last place we should look for new revenue is to unfairly tax the very industries that drive our economic future. If we push them away, our economic future will be hopeless.

This is a time for Alaskans to support responsible fiscal policy.

Sincerely, Marc Langland & Jim Jansen Co-Chairs, KEEP Alaska Competitive

Read More: Alaska Economic Update (Part 4)

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