There is not a lack of interest in Alaska’s oil supply. So the old adage, “If you build it, they will come,” is not applicable to how legislators should be doing business with oil companies.
A better adage for the situation is, “If you sit and do nothing, they will still come — because it’s oil.”
But that’s not what happened in March when the Alaska Legislators voted to pass Senate Bill 21, which gave away multibillion-dollar tax cuts for oil companies with no guarantee on a return investment.
How much are these cuts costing Alaskans? Nearly $6 billion by 2020.
These cuts were made as an alleged “investment” in the state’s future. However, there has been no guarantee from lawmakers or oil companies that there actually will be any rewards for Alaskans to reap. There is no assurance that oil companies will use those savings to responsibly produce oil faster. Therefore, there is no certainty that jobs will be created on a long-term basis because of the cuts. There’s not even a guarantee that ensures the oil companies will use the saved money in Alaska.
The only guarantee granted in the passing of Senate Bill 21 is that it would pass.
The intricate conflicts of interests that ensured the passage of this bill run deep.
It seems like everyone had something to gain from padding the pockets of big oil businesses — from Governor Sean Parnell, a former ConocoPhillips lobbyist, to legislators employed by ConocoPhillips outside of the session, who endorsed and voted for the bill.
Because saving oil companies billions of dollars in taxes is a sure way to ensure job security and campaign funding.
The Vote Yes petition initiative aims to stop the tax cuts.
If enough signatures are gathered on the petition in each house district, it goes on the ballot in 2014 so Alaskans can have a say about how their state oil is used.
So take advantage of the moment and make your voice heard.