An engaged Alaskan democracy

Anchorage SB21 Debate Draws Standing-Room-Only Crowd

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Caslon Hatch, Weekend Anchor KTUU Jul 23, 2014

ANCHORAGE – One of this election year’s most complicated and pivotal issues readily filled the room at the Loussac Library’s Wilda Marston Theatre in Anchorage Wednesday night, for a debate on the future of oil tax law Senate Bill 21.

In one corner, state Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and economist Gregg Erickson argued in favor of Ballot Measure 1, which if passed would repeal Gov. Sean Parnell’s slate of reduced oil taxes under SB21. The 2013 bill superseded former Gov. Sarah Palin’s plan, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share, an oil production tax passed by the state Legislature in 2007. “Under SB21 the oil companies get the biggest share, a much larger share of that increment,” Erickson said at the debate.

In the other corner, oil and gas consultant Brad Keithley and petroleum economist Roger Marks argued for keeping the new oil tax system in place with a no vote on Ballot Measure 1. “SB21 was propagated by one single big problem with ACES, and the problem was the structure accredited very high tax rates and high prices,” Marks said.

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