Alaskans Reaffirm Energy Tax Cut in August Referendum
Earlier this week, Alaska voters rejected liberal attempts to repeal Senate Bill 21, The More Alaska Production Act, which was passed in 2013 by a narrow 11-9 vote and gives a tax cut to oil companies in Alaska. If Senate Bill 21 was repealed, previous egregiously high taxes on Alaskan oil producers would be reinstated, placing strain on the companies and killing jobs for Alaskans. The campaign to keep the tax cut won by only 6,800 of 153,000 votes. While there are still 14,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the margin was wide enough on early Wednesday for supporters of the tax cut to call it a win.
The campaigns for repealing the tax cuts were based mostly on emotion with very little fact: The Vote Yes campaign attacked the oil industry as being untrustworthy and unlikely to keep their promises to Alaskans, and called the tax cut a “giveaway”. Ultimately the facts won, with the Vote No side, supported by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Dem. Senator Mark Begich claims to have an opinion, but offers a weak excuse for his refusal to take a public stance on the issue.) presenting solid arguments that repealing the More Alaska Production Act would be bad for Alaskans: An over-taxed corporation has to produce less, charge more for their product, and hire fewer people.