In Palin’s Geopolitical Prowess, Empowerment, and ACES Reform, Barbara Haney wrote essentially that Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) was not Gov. Palin’s only accomplishment (true enough), that changing it does not besmirch her reputation (also true) and that the changes need to be made, because the world in which we live is different from when ACES was conceived. While the world has changed quite a bit since 2007, I do not see the justification in destroying ACES.
I am one of very few Palinistas who have been covering ACES for over three years. I never suggested that ACES was Gov. Palin’s “only” accomplishment and never suggested that Gov. Parnell’s assault on it would besmirch her reputation. ACES is one of three top-level accomplishments that defined Sarah Palin’s term in office. She had numerous other accomplishments great and small as this compendium will show. Her 2009 Accomplishments alone contain 100 pages of links to documents describing each one in detail. None of the Palinistas I know – and I know a lot of them – have ever suggested that ACES is her only accomplishment or that her entire gubernatorial term revolved solely around ACES.
Haney wrote in her second sentence, “many loyal to Palin have seen it as a betrayal of trust by Parnell and the State Senate to what they consider Gov Palin’s major accomplishment.” So, what should we call it? A re-affirmation of trust? Gov. Parnell flip-flopped on ACES incrementally over the past three years and during the past year, has launched an all-out assault on it. He’s only likely to succeed now, because he has the support of like-minded Republicans, which he did not have in his prior attempts. Ironically, it’s Democrats who are standing up and supporting ACES. Gov. Parnell is a former ConocoPhillips lobbyist! That’s where his interest lies. He is seeking to bring back the pre-Palin days when the oil companies ruled the state and legislating was about – relationships – who slept with whom, as Gov. Palin wrote in Going Rogue. No, I don’t live in Alaska like Haney does and it doesn’t make any difference. The world is a much smaller place today thanks to the Internet, iPhones, and ‘Droids.
Whitney Pitcher wrote in Will ACES Be Discarded?
So, why is there a push for reforming ACES? Because of the very thing that Governor Palin warned against in her CPAC speech–being owned by the oil companies. In theory, the Senate bill is better for the oil companies because it flattens ACES’s tax rate and provides incentives for new oil. This sounds pro-business, right? That’s what Governor Palin warned about in her CPAC speech as well. There’s a difference between the invisible hand of the free market and the hand-in-hand “pro business” relationship between business and government. This “hand-in-hand” relationship is the very type of relationship that was the impetus for ACES being passed in the first place, as the Murkowski administration prior to Palin’s administration was shrouded in corruption due to the pay-to-play deals between the oil companies and lawmakers. Governor Parnell has not had that kind of relationship in his dealings, but he has had a revolving door relationship between the oil industry and politics.
As Pitcher delineated in this extract, Gov. Palin warned against the corruption and crony capitalism that she signed ACES to defend against. Nothing in Gov. Palin’s remarks suggests she is in any way pleased with her successor’s machinations as they pertain to ACES.
In this graphic posted by the Alaska Dispatch, Alaska’s State Department of Labor employment data released Friday, March 22 show direct oil and gas industry jobs in Alaska reached reached 13,600 last year, a new record high since the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline in 1976. Each of the wells represents the number of jobs for the year. Look four wells to the right of 2004 – when ACES was enacted. Jobs increased, with last year’s numbers being the best on record at 13,600.
Pat Fogey calls out Parnell’s bald-faced lies in Alaska oil jobs hit record high, despite governor’s warnings.
The assaults on ACES began before the ink even dried on Gov. Palin’s signature on the tax system.
“The accusations that ACES is causing job losses on the North Slope has long been a key part of oil industry attempts to roll back their tax rates, beginning soon after ACES was passed in 2007. One of those efforts was a advertising campaign on television and newspapers by the Alaska Support Industry Alliance called “Faces of ACES.” In that campaign, people who claimed job losses blamed ACES and sought its repeal.”
Fogey continued, “Members of the the House of Representatives repeated such claims during floor debate as they voted to pass House Bill 110. Those statements appeared to be based not on evidence but on the industry’s lobbying effort and anecdotal examples from people they knew or had heard about who had lost jobs.”
“Faces” is only one lobbyist group. Another well-known group campaigning to destroy ACES is “Make Alaska Competitive,” which has been documented here at US for Palin throughout our coverage of this.
But, Department of Labor statistics don’t lie. ACES increased oil jobs. ACES is yielding handsome profits for the oil companies who are harnessing a resource that belongs to the people of the State of Alaska.
As Bob and Mark have said repeatedly on their show, Gov. Parnell wants to give big oil these huge production tax breaks – while eliminating the capital expenditure breaks – without even a promise that they will produce more oil in Alaska. But, we’re supposed to believe that destroying a system which brings Alaska $1.5 billion per year in production revenue – without even a promise of increased production – is a great idea? Really?
To steal from Hillary Clinton, “that requires the willing suspension of disbelief.”
H/T Lynda Armstrong, “I Stand With Sarah: a Tribute” Facebook Group for story lead.