A new non-partisan group seeking repeal of an oil tax cut has filed an application with the Division of Elections to begin a petition drive.
Prime sponsors of the referendum are former state Sen. Vic Fischer, former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond, and former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor and state Rep. Jim Whitaker.
They call the tax changes made by the state legislature a massive giveaway that will benefit major oil companies and hurt Alaskans.
Fischer was member of Alaska’s Constitutional Convention 57 years ago. He says the tax break is unconstitutional and lawmakers have an obligation to manage Alaska’s resources for the maximum benefit of Alaskans, not oil company shareholders.
The group has 90 days to collect 30,000 signatures of registered voters to get the initiative on the 2014 primary ballot.
Meanwhile, Gov. Sean Parnell says ConocoPhillips’ announcement that it will bring an additional rig to Kuparuk this spring is the first step to “an Alaska oil comeback.”
ConocoPhillips said Wednesday it will work with other owners on funding for a new drill site on the Kuparuk River Field. The company credits the decision on the legislature’s decision to reduce oil industry taxes.
- Mayor Ken Koelsch, Debbie White and Mary Becker opposed it. Deputy Mayor Jerry Nankervis was on a scratchy phone connection and did not respond to the roll call to vote.
- The proposal for a 130-unit high-rise apartment building to be built over a downtown city parking lot has alarmed some community members. But city officials say there is no final plan and closure of the deal is still months away.
- “Things have to have an endpoint to it, or they have to have something that keeps directing you, telling you that you’re in the right area,” said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.
- The Department of the Interior announced today that 29 local Alaska governments would receive $29.7 million in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funds, or PILT.