Alaska Governor Sean Parnell – who was supposed to keep Gov. Palin’s agenda intact – is bent on scuttling one of her signature accomplishments Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), a subject extensively discussed on yesterday’s Bob and Mark Show. “Really, how much [money] is enough?” Gov. Parnell bizarrely asked about money going into Alaska’s state surplus from taxes on oil and gas revenues. Under the Alaska State Constitution, the people of the state own its energy resources. ACES is as simple as it is brilliant. ACES is a graduated tax system, whereby taxes on oil and gas revenues increase as the value of the resource increases. A portion of this money goes into state savings and another portion is distributed to all Alaskans via the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Another point often missed when discussing ACES is that it contains a built-in incentive to explore and drill by levying little or no tax when these operations are being conducted.
Aside from his bizarre question, Gov. Parnell is also extorting passage of the bill that would dismantle ACES by threatening to veto capital projects passed by the legislature. Alaska’s House of Representatives approved of dismantling ACES, but the state’s Senate has not thus far. Gov. Parnell – who Bob and Mark refer to as “Gov. Jellyfish” – rather than representing Alaskans has chosen to behave like a lobbyist for big oil. He operates on the fanciful notion that by doing away with ACES, the top three oil companies will drill and explore in Alaska. Those shilling for the oil companies rail about what a “horrible” place Alaska is to do business, yet Alaska has some of the lowest taxes and much better working conditions than most of the nations these companies find preferable. Since ACES became law in 2007, Alaska has seen an increase in the amount of energy industry jobs.
If Alaska is a “horrible” place to conduct energy business, ACES has nothing to do with it; however, the federal government most likely has everything to do with it, via onerous and ridiculous regulations. The Obama administration and the Democrats in both houses of Congress are anti-everything to do with domestic energy development that is not “green.” This administration sees rising fuel prices as a good thing – to “bring us in line” with western Europe.
Executives from the oil companies have outright said they are not in the drilling and exploration business. Given that federal regulations have all but driven them out of this business, we can not really quite blame them. But, this does not justify giving the oil companies corporate welfare, as Gov. Parnell proposes.
Buying leases and never developing them – warehousing and hoarding the resource – is a practice that the Palin administration took a hard line on. Exxon-Mobil did not drill at Point Thomson for nearly 30 years. There was no such thing as ACES during most of this time. When Gov. Palin was in office, the well got drilled. In the pre-Palin days, the oil company executives were in bed with Alaska’s legislative and executive branches figuratively, and quite possibly literally. After all, Gov. Palin did recount in Going Rogue, p. 142 how Meghan Stapleton was told by a lawmaker, “I can tell you right now which bills will pass this session and which won’t…it’s based upon one thing: relationships – and who is sleeping with whom.”
Prior to the Palin administration, the big oil companies received corporate welfare, via the tax system. Apparently, Gov. Parnell wants to roll the clock back to these pre-Palin days. He wants to ride roughshod on the state Constitution and has no regard for real owners of the oil and gas locked beneath the permafrost: Alaska’s citizens.
Gov. Parnell – who US for Palin supported under the mistaken notion that he would continue the Palin mandate – wants to forgo an estimated $8 billion in guaranteed income over five years on the fantasy that big oil companies will ramp up exploration. Meanwhile, the small independent operators who want to drill then ship through the pipeline are charged prohibitive tariffs by the pipeline owners – the big three oil companies.
Bob and Mark summed it up on their Facebook page:
“Really, how much (money) is enough?”- Governor Sean Parnell. Let that sink in people. He is OUR leader, and this question was not directed at the oil and gas companies, it was directed at you and me. WE are the greedy ones…WE are the bad guys here. That’s what we have leading us. God help us all!
We join Bob and Mark in saying “Go ACES!”