Wagoner: Saddened, sickened, but not surprised

Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On May 4, three more indictments and arrests came crashing down in Juneau.

I am saddened and sickened at the events, and like most Alaskans, am shaking my head over how people could act in this manner. But I’m not surprised.

For months I, and many others, have expected a follow-up to last fall’s raid on legislative offices in Juneau and Anchorage.

As last year’s oil tax debate unfolded, I was more and more concerned about who was and was not “in the pocket” of the affected parties — those who were affected by the proposed taxing system and the gas line contract.

By the time the Prudhoe Bay spill occurred on Aug. 7, 2006, I believed that the proposed net taxing scheme would harm Alaska and worked hard to return to a gross tax system. So I worked to amend, as best I could, the net tax legislation (HB 3001) that finally became law.

Unfortunately, I was not successful in an amendment that would have not allowed deducting operating and capital costs as a result of bad maintenance.

So I filed a bill again this year — SB 80 — that would accomplish the same thing. The House companion bill, HB 128, was introduced by my colleague, Rep. Kurt Olson, also in February.

What does it all mean?

Clearly, it means there is still an enormous influence on some members of the Legislature — influence that does not help the state of Alaska or its citizens.

Again, I’m saddened and sickened.

The good men and women of the Kenai Peninsula deserve to have a senator who is a member of the majority. I believe there’s more to come and key people in the current organization are at the front of that line.

The good men and women of the Kenai Peninsula deserve to have a senator who is a member of the majority, but they do not deserve a senator who condones behavior from other elected and appointed officials that harm the state of Alaska.

I’m extremely upset at the pall this has cast over the Alaska Legislature. I’m so sorry that we all have to live through this blight on our state.

I very much appreciate the letters, e-mails and phone calls from you that have encouraged me to continue working on a better oil tax system and an open competitive bid process for a gas line.

I’m confident that you understand my decision to not participate in a Senate organization that is so fundamentally flawed.

Sen. Tom Wagoner,

Senate District Q

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