I was disappointed to see that the Alaska Senate Majority has stooped to employing another push-poll to shape public opinion regarding our fiscal crisis and China’s emergence as a business partner in our LNG line. True to form, the poll quizzes respondents concerning what kinds of taxes we prefer without mentioning the possibility of raising oil production taxes which are among the very lowest in the world – half that paid by oil producers in North Dakota and Texas.
And the question about whether we should become business partners with the Chinese is meant to instill fear and suspicion. I am guessing that members of the majority may be planting these doubts to sour this deal and make way for the re-entry into negotiations by current North Slope oil producers. International relations are tense enough as it is without the help of lowly state politicians who hope to shape public opinion — and thus policy — through fear-mongering and appeals to nationalism. At the end of the push poll, there is an opportunity to write comments. I encourage everyone to ask our Senate Majority to represent the people for a change, and draft oil tax legislation that will insure that Alaskans receive their fair share of our state’s oil wealth — perhaps enough to build an endowment to fund state government in perpetuity.
This could be our last opportunity to create an endowment that will free our children from being taxed to death to support the infrastructure we have created. Let’s not blow it!