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By David Gottstein

Backbone calls for reform based on production, not giveaways



Backbone, an Alaskan citizen’s coalition, takes issue with some statements made earlier this week by the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition. The group seems convinced that giving away Alaska’s oil wealth will somehow inspire production. Giving something away for nothing is not a prudent investment. They want Alaskans to believe that House Bill 110, which failed during our last legislative session, would have been good for our state. But Make Alaska Competitive’s own advocate, Governor Knowles, admits that HB 110 was “not the right answer.”

He’s right.

Backbone supports the Senate Bipartisan Working Group. We encourage their continued, proven ability to work across party lines and work to expand oil production. By pursuing bold new incentives, such as tax credits for new production investments, the Working Group offers solutions, instead of the bad choice of giving our oil wealth away on legacy fields that can’t produce significant new oil production.

We agree with Make Alaska Competitive that this is a nonpartisan issue. Rather than pick one team or the other, Backbone believes that Alaskans should vote for a plan based on a solid return on investment for Alaskans that will result in more oil production and revenues for our state. We do not want a scheme reliant on tax giveaways with no reasonable prospect for a positive return on investment.

If an employee asks for a raise, his or her employer would be reasonable to expect an increase in production for that investment. If Alaska is going to give more money to the oil companies to develop our energy resources, real tax reform should be rooted in increased production. Let’s spell out the job we expect the oil companies to do, rather them grant them a raise on just a hope and a prayer. Because this oil belongs to all Alaskans, Backbone supports the Bipartisan Working Group’s belief that tax credits are a way to ensure that Alaskans are getting the best return on our investment.

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