Democrats Call On Alliance to Tell Truth
Jobs, investment up in Alaska since ACES passed
JUNEAU - Feb. 2 - Members of the House Democratic Caucus sent a letter to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance asking the industry lobbying group to correct inaccuracies and misleading statements in its recent ad campaign. During a press conference the Democratic legislators gave an encouraging picture of Alaska's economic status and jobs climate since oil tax reforms became law.
Despite Alliance inferences, recent reports show jobs and investment both are in Alaska's oil industry, and the producers continue to make huge profits, even as other companies are struggling in the recession.
"We're demanding a little truth in advertising," said Minority Leader Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau). "ACES has actually opened the market to some of the smaller companies, leading to increased investment and exploration, and more employment opportunities in Alaska. We worked for Alaskans to get a fair deal, and now we're working to make sure they get the whole picture."
Alaska's Department of Revenue has provided reports (included in PDF) that portray positive and encouraging trends for the industry since ACES was enacted. Though the industry has been shouting for reduced taxes, their justifications for tax breaks don't match the reality on the ground.
"When oil investment and jobs have increased, oil companies should tell the truth, even if it hurts their call for more tax breaks," said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage). " Exxon, Conoco and BP are needed in this state, but they should concede, not deny, what their reports say - that they've made billions in profits under Alaska's oil tax and investment incentive laws."
"I'm willing to work with anybody in any way I can to create more job opportunities for Alaskans," said Rep. Harry Crawford (D-Anchorage). "I don't like being bullied or misled, though. Everything I've seen tells me more people are going to work, and more wells are being drilled. I want to work with the industry, but I expect them to be honest with the people I represent."
The PDF, linked below, contains a letter and documents that show the following:
1. Conoco has earned $6 billion in profits in Alaska under ACES
2. While only 14.1 percent of Conoco's expenses are in Alaska; those Alaska investments generate over 40 percent of Conoco's worldwide profits.
3. Exxon set worldwide profit records since ACES was passed.
4. When taxes were low, oil company investment in Alaska was lower, and fewer people were employed.