Debate Update: Governor Debunks Berkowitz-Benson Oil Tax Idea
Parnell cites opponent for ineffective approach to fighting the feds
Anchorage, AK - In the second of what will be 10 debates between Sean Parnell and his challengers, Alaska's governor shared his vision for Alaska's economy, including finishing a natural gas pipeline, tax credits for oil and gas industry job creation, and a variety of other initiatives. Parnell also detailed his strong record of standing up for Alaska against federal regulation.
Ethan Berkowitz's all-royalty oil tax plan, which Governor Parnell has referred to as "talk and tax," could require the state to re-negotiate each of the oil leases currently in place. Such a move could destabilize Alaska's oil-dependent economy, because companies considering oil field investment in Alaska wouldn't know the tax rate for their investment until after spending significant amounts on exploration. "We ended up with over a decade of litigation," when the state first negotiated royalty rates, Parnell said in considering the challenges with the Berkowitz proposal. "We don't need that again."
Though Berkowitz' own website notes that a commission of experts would be in charge of re-negotiating royalty oil rates for existing fields, he waffled on this position at today's debate, instead saying that the idea should simply be considered.
Governor Parnell also took Ethan Berkowitz to task for misrepresenting Parnell's record of accomplishment on fighting the federal government. Berkowitz, who said, "You get farther with honey than with vinegar," questioned whether any of Parnell's lawsuits had been successful. In response, Parnell noted several successes, including the victory in court for Outer Continental Shelf exploration this summer. Governor Parnell also noted his work with Secretary Vilsack on the Logjam timber project, and the resulting timber development that brought jobs to Alaskans on Prince of Wales Island. The governor also noted his work to de-list the Steller sea lion, because that listing threatens the cod and mackerel fishery in Southwest Alaska.
"I believe in creating economic growth and opportunity for our families," said Governor Parnell Monday. "We need an all in approach on our jobs. We need action, not words."
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