Opinion: Ballot Measure 1 would be deleterious to Alaska’s future

Opinion: Ballot Measure 1 would be deleterious to Alaska’s future

A yes vote on Ballot Measure 1 would be like driving a ship into the eye of a storm.

  • By Barbara Haney
  • Thursday, July 23, 2020 11:37pm
  • Opinion

Like many sectors of the economy, the oil industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Stay at home orders that greatly reduced demand for fuel, production wars between Saudi Arabia and Russia that greatly increased the global supply of oil drove the price down to historically low levels. The industry has struggled nationally, and Alaska’s industry has been no exception. Alaska’s oil industry has one of the highest cost structures in the world, and some firms are struggling to make royalty payments.

Oil revenue is the lifeblood of Alaska’s economy. Nearly one-third of all employment in Alaska is directly tied to the oil industry. The majority of Alaska’s state revenue is derived from the oil industry, and public employment is also a large component of the Alaska economy.

Raising taxes on Alaska’s oil industry at the present time would be deleterious to Alaska’s economy — it would be like kicking a person when they are down. An increase in the tax would lead to declines in production, employment, and investment. Not only would this hurt current oil production and state revenue, it would have an adverse impact on future revenue through disinvestment and future production cuts.

To put it in terms that a Coast Guard engineer like Rich Moniak (of a previous editorial) might understand, a yes vote on Ballot Measure 1 would be like driving a ship into the eye of a storm. At first it would seem peaceful;, but the back side of the storm soon hits with a new set of dangers that are often worse than the beginning of the storm. Voting no on Ballot Measure 1 would be more like staying at the edge of the storm; the ride will be rough but navigable.

Whether Ballot Measure 1 passes taxes, there will be decreases in public services — so the question becomes do we want to destroy Alaska’s future economy by stifling its lifeblood through raising taxes or sit tight, be fiscally conservative, and weather the storm. If we sit tight, be fiscally conservative and vote no on Ballot Measure 1, we can at least preserve the private sector and have some hope of a future economic recovery. A “yes” vote will have an adverse impact on oil production, industry investment, state revenue, creating damaging impacts on employment in multiple economic sectors and state revenue now and in the future. Please, vote no on Ballot Measure 1.

Barbara Haney, Ph.D., is a North Pole resident. Haney received her Ph.D. in public finance from the University of Notre Dame and previously taught economics at several institutions including the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently a legislative aide to Rep. Mike Prax.

More in Opinion

Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Voices of the Peninsula: A vote for Walker/Drygas is a vote for Alaskans

It’s easy to forget some of the many lost lawsuits, devastating budget cuts and general incompetence that defines Mike Dunleavy’s term as governor

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

The Storyknife Writers Retreat in the summer of 2021 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Storyknife: Invest in women writers, read the rewards

Storyknife is committed to providing opportunities to a diversity of writers

Residents line the Sterling Highway in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office to oppose Pebble Mine on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: No more delays — finalize protections for Bristol Bay

How many times do we have to say NO to a bad project that would harm Alaskans?

Peter Asmus (Photo provided)
Why Alaska is leading the nation on energy innovation

Alaska is a unique vantage point upon which to review the world’s current energy conundrum

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: On Alaska’s gasline, you can’t schedule opportunity

Alaska has the largest source of stranded conventional gas (no drilling required) in North America

Charlie Pierce stands in his home on Thursday, March 11, 2022, in Sterling, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: When politics get dirty

So, let me step out front and dispel the already debunked false narratives …

Most Read