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January 21, 2018

Time To Clean Up The SB21 Cash Spill

About a decade ago I had a conversation with someone I had voted for. I wasn’t real happy with his broken campaign promises, and, I realize this may be a shocker, but I let my disappointment be known. I think Pop Moore describes me as “subtle like a chainsaw.” I don’t know what I was expecting, but here was the response, “Sometimes you have to let go of your principles and ideals.” I’ve been rolling that around in my head ever since. I realize you and I have the luxury of our “principles and ideals” while watching both the local…

Primary Post Mortem

Alaska’s primary election night is over, but the election itself is not quite done. About 14,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and the final results will not be known for days. That said, it will be a tough hill to climb for the passage of Ballot Measure 1, which would reinstate the ACES oil tax system put in place by former Governor Sarah Palin and a bipartisan coalition in the Alaska legislature. Sean Parnell, former ConocoPhillips lawyer and lobbyist, and Palin’s former Lt. Governor dismantled ACES with Senate Bill 21 which would give billions from Alaska’s treasury to the…

Corporate Greed vs. Bedsheets

We’ve been and will be advocating really hard through today for what is a very Alaska specific issue, albeit one which illustrates the larger, nationwide problem of unrestrained corporate power exerting itself at the expense of school children, retirees, a decent infrastructure, and the basic services on which people in a civilized society depend. We‘ve been heavily outspent, with Exxon, BP, Conoco and their lobbyists dropping $15mil on a very small population. The two deciding votes in our legislature for the corporate welfare bill known as SB21 are both on the payroll of—as in employed by—Conoco Phillips. Our governor is an…

Awkward Kid Explains Oil Taxes

Totally confused by Prop 1 on Tuesday’s ballot, or just want to see an awkward kid totally own the oil companies. Either way, here’s a coffee break treat! We love this kid. And this video (especially the sign part). The oil companies have spent millions of dollars to confuse you, and make you think it’s all just sooooo complicated. It’s actually not that hard to figure this whole thing out. This kid sure did. The numbers are close, Alaskans. And to keep from sending our treasury to big fancy glass offices in Houston, and London, we need to do one…

Oil Companies Deceive and Divide Us

I listened to a public radio story this week about Anchorage neighbors and their sign war. They are friends who trade snow plowing for boat storage space, but can’t talk about the most important vote for Alaskans in my lifetime. Instead they keep making their signs taller and bigger. Another woman had her “Yes on One” sign burned in her yard and a “No” one put beside it. I have friends who are on their fifth “Yes” sign because they keep disappearing. That’s what millions of dollars have bought, and brought to our state. Sign wars – millions of dollars…

Critical Oil Tax Debate Wednesday!

As we wind up to the primary and general election, Alaska Common Ground is sponsoring a must-attend series of forum discussions on four ballot measures. The first in the series is coming up, so clear your evening Wednesday night and see both sides discuss the upcoming oil tax referendum – Ballot Measure 1 (SB21). Forum on the Oil Tax Referendum (SB 21) Wednesday, July 23, 7-9 pm Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library Moderator Gunnar Knapp is Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage and a Professor of Economics at UAA. He has…

Oil? Bloated. You? Shrinkage.

The numbers have been crunched. The “Big Five” oil companies – BP, Exxon-Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, and Chevron saw a combined profit of $93 billion last year. Profit. Billion with a B. That’s $177,000 every single minute, of every day last year. Profit. Outrageous! The poor babies… Despite what any reasonable person might think about the money pouring in to the most profitable companies ever to have existed on the face of the earth, they would still like to keep their tax breaks, please. And in Alaska, their best buddy in the governor’s office would like Alaskans to keep subsidizing this…

Parnell: Progressive Activist of the Year

We’re coming to the close of 2013, and top 10 lists are coming out of our ears. Top movies, albums, people (The pope! Time’s Person of the Year!). We seem to feel compelled to wrap up our year in nice little boxes. I have my own list I’d like to trot out. Hang on just a minute. Last week the governor released state revenue projections and his budget. His projections are based on the information oil companies give the state about how much of that sweet oil they plan to send down the pipeline. The administration takes those numbers and…

Parnell Should Choose Support for Youth

In 2011 the state conceded that its protection system to discover child abuse and neglect, and lead foster youth to greater success, was in need of improvement. It came up with a cost-effective request: What if they filled the massive staffing gaps at the Office of Children’s Services (OCS), which investigates these cases, with lower-cost support staff rather than Masters-level social workers? That would free social workers to do their fieldwork, and let lower-cost employees do their paper and administrative work. The governor needs to govern and find efficiencies, rather than excuses to ignore our child protection system or his…

BREAKING: Conoco Rakes in Your Money

ConocoPhillips makes a lot of money. This seems like an obvious statement, but its one that Governor Sean Parnell, and his oily ilk in the Alaska legislature are hoping you and everyone you know will forget when it comes time to vote on the repeal of SB21. So they run around with their hair on fire yelling things like “Incentivize production!” and “It’s complicated!” and tell us that if we don’t start sobbing and throwing cash at the big 3 oil producers, and if we repeal SB21, well… they’re going to leave us for someone else like Libya or North…