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Who Does The GOP Think That They Represent?

Pipeline
This week several legislators from the House minority wrote an op-ed. One paragraph specifically answers the question, “What the hell are they doing still in Juneau?” I know, you probably thought it was for all the fancy lobbyists dinners and fat per diem checks, but it boils down to this: “The $775 million in cash subsidies to the oil industry is more than the combined budgets of the Alaska Court System, Department of Corrections, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Department of Fish and Game. Combined.”

Can we just think about that for a minute? I’ll wait for you to reread that little tidbit. Okay, welcome back to the column. The Republicans are in charge. They apparently don’t want to take a cent away from the oil companies and act like they’d rather take from your Permanent Fund checks and have you pay taxes than get Alaska’s fair share for our oil.

Remember, not so long ago, when former ConocoPhillips lobbyist (I’m not kidding) and then-Gov Sean Parnell and his cronies told us we’d lose jobs if we didn’t start giving away our oil? That was really scary! Yikes! BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil spent tens of millions convincing Alaskans not to overturn the giveaway. They promised more oil, more jobs, more revenue to Alaska and of course — to protect the PFD if we just kept the oil wealth giveaway. Like Charlie Brown, we believed them and sure enough: Within weeks of voting to keep Senate Bill 21 in place, we realized that Lucy had pulled the football away as BP announced hundreds of layoffs — even with oil still over $100. More pink slips were handed to Alaskans than all the pink slips at a Victoria’s Secret. The goal to increase oil production to 1 million barrels per day? The Latest Department of Revenue forecast shows we will only be getting 300,000 barrels in 2025 — and we will pay more in oil tax credits than we get in production taxes until then.

This week a recording surfaced of a purported conversation between an Alaskan seeking oil field work with an oil services company. Those are good jobs that help people raise families and participate in our local economies. Anchorage radio station KWHL’s host Bob Lester played it on the air. Strangely, the phone number for the job was in Louisiana. The man called the company — in Louisiana — regarding a welding position. He explained he was actually in Alaska — quite near the project she described as “40 miles from Anchorage.” You’re probably guessing it was Cook Inlet. Probably a good guess. The job was for 70 days and the work was 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.

The woman in Louisiana explained if the Alaskan wanted the job, he’d have to come to Louisiana to take a test. Would the Louisiana company pay for the Alaskan to travel to Louisiana for the test? Why of course not. But, she assured him if he lived in Louisiana and passed the test, the company would pay for his airfare to and from Alaska. The woman explained people were being hired as contractors, with no per diem, with no overtime for their 84 hours per week and they had to pay their own taxes. This keeps them from having to pay payroll tax to Alaska, if you’re following along at home. That’s a neat trick. My guess is, this company got tens of millions in tax credits to pay for these out-of-state workers. Then misclassified them to avoid Workers’ Compensation payments. And by calling them contractors, the company the company sought to illegally avoid paying them overtime. All very likely with millions in oil tax credits.

Anyone else getting sick of this? Oil and gas developers pay less than they get in subsidies from the state. They are welfare queens, but on steroids. Hilcorp is a major player in Cook Inlet and on the North Slope. They have sent representatives to testify to committees in Juneau. They really need those tax credits. According to the state, millions in tax credits have been given to Cook Inlet developers during the past few years.

Last December, Hilcorp gave its 1,400 employees across the nation each a bonus check up to $100,000. Merry Christmas! — provided partly by Alaska’s generosity. Funded in large part by Alaska’s oil tax credit subsidies. And now they want your PFD and a host of other taxes to pay to keep those subsidies alive.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of this stuff. Thank you to the Democrats in Juneau for standing strong for us. I’m more than willing to pay my fair share and I know most Alaskans are too, but I’ll be darned if I’ll support Alaskans giving up their PFDs so they can keep giving massive subsidies to some of the largest and wealthiest corporations in the world. Here’s hoping the Republicans who control the Legislature with supermajorities will stop acting like the political arm of the oil industry and do right by Alaskans — and pass a serious oil tax reform.

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4 Responses to “Who Does The GOP Think That They Represent?”
  1. WasillaBilly says:

    Don’t trust smiling politicians. They can’t hide their glee after f in butt raping tax payers. Sarah, Lisa, Frank,Ted, asshole mf Don lame ass embarrassment Young. The moron Klampetts in FBX and Valley keep voting GOP. Ya get what ya get dipshits!!

  2. Mike D says:

    Which members of the legislature are actual employees of an oil company?

  3. The real question is why the Attorney General isn’t looking in to the obvious criminal law violations if the KWHL story is true.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    I suppose those that voted for wingnuts are in denial about the state’s finances. Fortunately,saviour Obama will be looking for employment next January and has the expertise to outwit nitwit wingnuts. Who you gonna call? Wingnutbusters.