Oil companies should pay fair share before fund tapped, taxes approved

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Old-time carnival hustlers called them "marks." They're "square Johns" to car salesmen. By any name, slick operators love a sucker. Good reason to love Alaska, too.

Here we are with more oil wealth than most nations, but we can't afford to run our state. Remember, all that oil and gas under your Xtra-Tufs belongs to you and me, not the oil companies. But ever since they've been drilling, we've been going in the hole.

Article VIII of the Alaska Constitution says the state should manage resources "for the maximum benefit of its people." Unfortunately most of our governors, state Department of Natural Resources bureaucrats and too many legislators have owed their political lives to oil companies. So, they've sold your resources at bargain basement prices and revenues can't support basic government services.

It costs a lot to run a state. Citizens should be willing pay their fair share through taxes. But I hear the oil companies keep about 43 percent of the profits from Alaska production.

According to the 2002 "International Petroleum Fiscal System Database," that's over 2 1/2 times their average take worldwide. Alaska only gets about 33 percent. We could raise Alaska's share to 55 percent and oil companies would still get the 21 percent they average elsewhere.

According to Republican Moderate Party Chair Ray Metcalfe, had we done that in fiscal year 2001, Alaska would have a half billion dollar budget surplus instead of a deficit.

The thing hucksters love about a sucker is he's too dumb to know when he's being taken and too timid to do anything about it if he ever finds out.

Tired of being a sucker? Tell the governor and Legislature you want a fair profit from our oil and gas before you'll agree to new taxes or tapping the permanent fund.

Mike O'Meara


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