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Wielechowski and Gara Denounce Outside Corporate Influence in Alaska Politics

Press conference highlights divergence between corporate and Alaskan interests

Today, Senator Bill Wielechowski and Representative Les Gara (both D-Anchorage) urged Alaskans to be mindful of the difference between what's good for large, Outside corporations and what's good for Alaskans and Alaskan businesses.  They also denounced the sometimes heavy-handed tactics used by Outside corporations to influence policy in the Alaska Legislature.

"Multi-national corporations are doing their job trying to find ways to maximize profits for their shareholders," said Senator Wielechowski. "However, it's our constitutional obligation as legislators to maximize benefits for the people of Alaska, and those two goals don't always align."

Each year, a group of four corporate advocacy groups issues a legislative report card giving legislators grades for their stances on business issues. This year, the grades will most likely reflect legislators' positions on Governor Parnell's proposal to give away billions of dollars of Alaska's oil revenues to the oil industry.

"The governor's $8 billion oil corporation giveaway may be good for BP, Conoco and Exxon, but it's not good for the hundreds of businesses in Alaska that depend on a healthy economy, viable infrastructure and an educated workforce-all things we won't be able to provide if we give away billions of our dollars to outside oil corporations.  If the Governor's giveaway passes, that money will leave Alaska, and just go to enhance corporate executive pay and to corporate shareholders," said Rep. Gara.

Based on the general rule of thumb that eight new, full-time, year-round equivalent jobs are created for every $1 million in construction spending in the capital budget, one can estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost statewide if the governor succeeds in giving away $8 billion over the next five years that otherwise could go to building new roads, schools and other public facilities in Alaska.   

"A strong Alaskan economy with thriving businesses is crucial to Alaskans' welfare. But we should never confuse the interests of large, Outside corporations with what's good for Alaskans or small Alaskan businesses," said Senator Wielechowski. "I stand for what's good for Alaskans and urge the public not to be misled by arguments made by those whose interests are not our own."

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