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May 5, 2021

Time To Clean Up The SB21 Cash Spill

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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 and countrywide clown shows that serve as politics. Or is it reality TV? Maybe it is impossible to be a politician and hold on to the things that make sense, that serve the majority, that promote our social fabric and well being. There are few examples of lawmakers who don’t give up all the ideals they held in their quest to become public servants in the first place; but those are an endangered species hunted by redistricting boards and party pimps.

This week the Alaska Senate blew up the legislative session when it gutted the compromise bill to fix Senate Bill 21 — the oil wealth giveaway passed in 2013 — that is so much worse than we thought it was. (This is the part where another columnist would say ‘I told you so’, but I won’t because I wanted to be so wrong.) The oil companies told us it “fixed” our “complex” oil tax credit system. I guess it did — if by fixed you mean Alaska expects to pay the oil industry $700 million more in tax credits than we get in production taxes. Put it this way, if they were “fixing” your dog you would have a litter of puppies on the way and be paying the vet to both deliver them and get her spayed.

We were told SB 21 would protect the state at low oil prices. Instead, we will be allowing BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon to write off losses for years to come. This problem was even recognized by the Senate Oil & Gas Working Group, a group organized by the Republican Senate Majority. This working group included the head of the Alaska Oil & Gas Association Kara Moriarty, head of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, Rebecca Logan, the Senate Finance Co-Chair Anna MacKinnon, Senate Resources Chair Cathy Giessel, and five other senators. Yet for some reason, when an amendment was offered to accept the working group’s recommendation to fix the problem, every member of the Republican Senate Majority voted against it. Cost to Alaskans — $720 million.

An amendment to fix a problem that could actually result in oil companies having a negative tax rate (we pay them to produce the oil) — rejected by the Republican majority. An Amendment to fix a problem that allows oil companies to manipulate the way they take oil tax credits — rejected by Republican majority. Cost to Alaskans in 2014, $112 million.

Another amendment was offered to require oil companies to include contractors and subcontractors in their workforce counts to get preferential tax credit treatment. Some oil and gas companies have high “Alaska hire” percentages for their own companies, but then scam the system by hiring hundreds of Outsiders as subcontractors. Rejected by the Republican majority. Note to them, Alaska hires are also Alaska voters. I guess they don’t count as much as industry super PACs.

Amendments to raise taxes on the oil companies when they are making astronomical profits — so Alaska can recoup some of the 75 percent of the exploratory costs we are currently picking up? Rejected by the Republican majority. Rerun.

An amendment to allow Alaskans to just find out which companies are getting the billions in tax credits and what they are being used for? Rejected by the Republican majority. Apparently their “Knowledge is Bad” slogan doesn’t just apply to sex education, but to oil company tax credits as well.

To top it off, Senate President Kevin Meyer, who works for ConocoPhillips, twice cut off Sen. Bill Wielechowski during his floor speech and told him he couldn’t talk about the flaws in SB 21, even though the bill before them was all about trying to fix the SB 21 debacle. It was a scene of censorship you might more expect out of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly. Sen. Meyer’s hair is almost as good as Kim Jong Un.

People of Alaska, what has happened is each of these oil company shills have given up their principles and ideals which they took an oath to protect when they were seated as our representatives. We shouldn’t have to give up our ideals and principles of human decency to get representation in Juneau. Enough is enough and too much is nasty. Frederic Bastiat said, “When plunder becomes a way of life for men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system which authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

What the Republican majority has done any normal person would be ashamed of. They aren’t ashamed, they are unabashed and proud. With that much pride, it’s time for a fall.

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4 Responses to “Time To Clean Up The SB21 Cash Spill”
  1. Mike D says:

    Legislators who work for the oil industry clearly have a conflict of interest and should be required to recuse themselves from any involvement in legislative matters involving their employers.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Ms Moore and other Alaskans, here’s your trouble as explained by what has to be the most naive and gullible freaking moron ever to claim to be kristian (from the bible belt no less)-

    Despite the fact that Oklahoma faces a $1.3 billion deficit, GOP state Rep. David Brumbaugh excused passing the bill by claiming that God will fix the state’s crumbling economy and pay all the legal expenses resulting from forthcoming lawsuits if they do the “moral” thing and ban abortion.

    “Everybody talks about this $1.3 billion deficit,” Brumbaugh said on Thursday. “If we take care of the morality, God will take care of the economy.

    Since guv Forever Flailing Falin vetoed this clearly unconstitutional pile of garbage, gawd must not be smiling down on Sooner Gooners. ps-you’d never guess wingnuts have more taxcuts planned to spur their anemic -actual ly dead -economy. 🙂

  3. Gina Peru Friccero says:

    We cannot fix ignorant, Shannon..you try to educate people, but they don’t want to read, they just digest whatever nonsense is funneled into their brains by TV ads. I remember that election and the unbelievable crap that was bombarding our state, flyers, tv ads and radio propaganda. It is heart breaking and sad, but Alaskans are so often not informed on the issues that they consistently vote against their own best interest.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    You do very good work, Ms Shannyn. Please keep it up no matter how heartrenching this is for you and the good people who care about your state.

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