More awful down sides to the governor’s proposed gas line contract are now coming to light. The state would take enormous unnecessary risks, shift huge profits to oil companies and take away our fundamental constitutional rights. The contract:
1. Could force the permanent fund to help pay for potential cost overruns;
2. Takes away our constitutional right to bring citizen initiatives on taxation without a vote of the people. (The last attempt to limit initiatives in 2000 was soundly defeated by Alaska voters);
3. Takes away the right to settle disputes in our sovereign state courts and diverts decisions to a secret tribunal; and
4. Takes away the legislative right to change taxes for the duration of the 30- to 45-year contract.
We should only sign a fair contract that does not give away our constitutional rights.
The best way to eliminate election-year politics would be a quick special legislative session to repeal the ELF (economic limitation factor) oil tax, which most agree is outdated. That would provide about $800 million in breathing space to pay for already approved projects.
Then the 2007 Legislature can consider the upsides and down sides several different oil and gas taxation options instead of being pushed to take a single proposal. Several different gas line proposals could also be considered, including the all-Alaska gas line to Valdez and a spur line to Cook Inlet.
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