Gov. Dunleavy says he’ll vote no on oil tax increase, election overhaul initiatives

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks about the state's COVID-19 response from the Atwood Building in Anchorage on March 23, 2020.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy at the Atwood Building in Anchorage on March 23, 2020. (Creative Commons photo courtesy Alaska Governor’s Office)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Thursday that he’s voting against both citizen initiatives on this year’s general election ballot — one to raise oil taxes and another to overhaul state election laws.

In a brief phone interview from his home Thursday, Dunleavy said that Ballot Measure 1, the oil tax increase, “has the potential to hurt, not help.”

The measure could raise an estimated $200 million from oil companies next year, according to state projections, which amounts to about one-fifth of Alaska’s deficit. But companies say the tax increase would thwart investment in Alaska projects and hurt the state’s economy.

Dunleavy said he thinks the issue of taxation is better handled by state lawmakers than through the initiative process — echoing a complaint by resource development groups that initiatives are a major political threat to their projects.

“You get a better process if it’s done by the Legislature,” Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy also said he’s voting against Ballot Measure 2, which would tighten financial disclosure requirements, turn Alaska’s multiple partisan primary elections into a single nonpartisan race and adopt a system of ranked-choice voting for the general election.

Dunleavy said he thinks the 25-page, 74-section initiative is too complex and unnecessary.

“I believe the process that we have now is a little more transparent,” he said. “There’s folks on both sides of the aisle that believe that this is not a good thing for Alaska.”

Dunleavy’s opposition to Ballot Measure 2 was expected, as several of his top advisers are working on the campaign to defeat it.