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December 11, 2017

Pink Slips for Alaskans, Green Ones for the Oil Companies

Pipeline

“Stability. Under SB 21, there is certainty that tax rates won’t fluctuate wildly at higher prices like they did under the old tax law.” — Alaska Oil & Gas Association

” ‘A competitive, predictable and durable oil and gas fiscal environment will be required for a project of this unprecedented scale, complexity and cost to compete in global energy markets,’ Exxon said in a statement.” — Business Wire, 2013

“This activity is slowing the production decline with renewed ability to reverse the decline and increase production. This gives Alaska the opportunity for a sustainable, long-term economic future. It also keeps Alaskans employed.” — Jim Jansen, co-founder of the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition

Remember when the stability of oil companies was so sought that we agreed to give them more money for our resource than they give us to develop it? All those promises of a pipeline stuffed with new oil and more jobs than we’d know what to do with? Well, all that winning didn’t happen. We’re now at our eighth consecutive year with a higher percentage of non-Alaskan workers in our oil patch.

Last week 18,000 Alaskans got pink slips, and I don’t mean the swanky, silky, lacy things in the JC Penney catalog from 1981 still sitting in your outhouse. I mean the “you’re fired because we can’t pay you” kind. Hundreds of teachers across the state are packing up their classrooms, not knowing if they should be applying to different school districts in different states or if they should wait here to see if our state Legislature can get its act together.

Oh, what will those pink slips mean in real life? Maybe Mr. State Employee who is laid off has some savings for a few months and he decides he will just go camping with the family. He can’t go to Whittier because the tunnel is closed. Oh, and so are all the other campgrounds. I guess flying out to see the McNeil bears will have to stay on the bucket list since that’s closed too. How awkward for people who fly in from all over the world.

Mr. Employee-in-Waiting can’t take his kids fishing because subsistence is closed. The option to go deckhand for his brother-in-law’s commercial boat is out because there’s no fishery. Sorry about your salmon. Jumping on the ferry to see his old college roommate who moved to Southeast Alaska right after graduation and has been bugging him to visit since before either of them had kids won’t work either since the ferries are tied to the dock. Rainy days won’t find him and his kids visiting the state museums or libraries — they’re closed. He can come back when all this is figured out. The tourists probably won’t.

His sister-in-law, who finally found someone who she wants to marry, has a wedding planned for early August, but since no marriage certificates are being issued, that’s in limbo. Poor thing finally got a fish to the shore and she can’t land it because oil companies need stability. There’s a recipe for Bridezilla.

Lucky for him he can feed his kids. Some of their peers aren’t eating since the summer food program for hungry kids has shuttered. He is pitching in a bit to help his sister since she’s short on cash because her deadbeat ex-husband doesn’t pay his child support without state enforcement and that office is dark. He’s most concerned with some of the kids from the hockey team he helps coach — this opioid problem is fierce and he’s hoping they won’t fall to it since the efforts to abate the problem aren’t funded.

The old man who used to drive over on his mower with a cold beer on hot days moved to an old folks home a few years ago. He should go visit again and make sure he’s all right since the state isn’t funding investigations into abuse until the budget is fixed.

Did I mention his kids are driving him nuts? He can’t afford music or hockey camp this year with that pink slip hanging on the fridge.

It’s a sick game of chicken. Figuring out who is going to do the right thing for the stability of our public services is like watching the Nenana tripod in spring — if it had the families of thousands of Alaskans precariously balanced on its top.

It’s tempting for me to turn on my mom car voice and scream I don’t care whose fault it is – just STOP! Some are blaming the coalition in the House, others the Republican majority in the Senate. The stability of working families in Alaska has been sacrificed for the most lucrative corporations in the history of the world. Pay attention. Figure out who is working for your stability — and next election, pink slip those who aren’t.

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One Response to “Pink Slips for Alaskans, Green Ones for the Oil Companies”
  1. juneaudream says:

    What has been said..right on! Now then..a small part..of the problem..has to do with..undereducated..humans..adult size. name them..as you will. I have..for some months..embarked upon a stealthy..prob. illegal activity..to..undermine..stupidity. I am buying..and leaving..actual..library type books..from all sorts of areas..of information. I leave them..in restrooms. I leave them..on almost no rain days..in parking lots. I leave them..every place I can think of..where a person..MIGHT..find them..and figure ok..cannot find the owner..so I will take it home. How many..of ..say 10 books..actually..gets ..taken home..and read..even a ..little? Maybe..1 or 2..per drop..of ten. Ugly..ratio..but..I am fighting back. History, geology, social conventions..whatever. Most are hard back books..but a few are..paperback types. It keeps me..trying. I talk/converse..when around others. This..is NOT..a ..sanctioned activity..however..i might have another..actually..find something..that they..read. So..like a religious pamphlet ‘hander-outer’..off I go..sliding books..into..strange places. Facing the age of 80..in 6 months..I need to ..up my game. Caring for an alzheimers spouse..means I have to..work around..the his needs..however.. newness..can be achieved! So..pardon moi..while I try..in my way..to follow those like Shannon..et al..in..repairing..this world.

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