Over the next 11 months Alaskans will be inundated with opinions and arguments on just what the More Alaska Production Act, as SB 21 has become known which is the oil and gas production tax passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Parnell, will or won’t accomplish. A petition to repeal the bill has received enough signatures and will be put to the voters at the August primary election. Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue Bruce Tangeman recently was on the Peninsula to address the issue before the Kenai Chapter of The Alliance. In an interview with the Dispatch Tangeman said, “Turning this into a bumper sticker issue has huge risks for Alaska’s economy. We have the most complicated tax structure in the world that has been implemented over the past several years and we’re seeing the negative effects it’s having on production resulting from that. Putting the issue on the ballot is bringing the issue to the forefront and has become a popular topic but it’s going to be a very hard thing for people to be informed on all the complexities of the issue in order to cast an informed vote and I would caution voters on the bumper sticker response,” said Tangeman.
According to Tangeman if the repeal is passed by the voters the tax structure would revert to the system that has caused the decline, “I like to emphasize that if all the other oil producing states were going through a similar problem we’d be having a different discussion, but with triple digit oil prices all other oil producing regions have figured it out and we are the only producing region that is declining still. Alaska has gone from being the number one state in production to number four and now we are having to forecast when New Mexico and Wyoming are going to pass us. The legislators that the people elected have spent hundreds of hours over the past three years and hundreds of committee hours have been spent digesting the best information available to come up to speed on the issue that resulted in the passing of SB 21. 600 Billion dollars was invested in the oil and sector worldwide last year, that’s Billion with a ‘B’ and Alaska only saw less than 1% of that invested in this State and that’s despite having one of the most tremendous resources in North America. So the net result of what the legislature has done has been to get those dollars back to being invested in Alaska,” he stated. Tangeman recommend everyone become informed before they are persuaded on the issue by going to the Governor’s website for the State of Alaska and visit the specific page that has the MAP Act (More Alaska Production) which is dedicated to the facts including charts and graphs that have been researched by the Department of Revenue whose website also has detailed information as does the legislature’s website.