A big thumbs down to Kevin Banks for floating the idea that a ballot measure increasing taxes from 150%-300% “isn’t about money”, rather, political influence.
We get it. With the price of oil projected to be “lower for longer”, the fair share folks have had to stop their claim that the initiative will bring in a billion dollars annually, and settle for something around $250 million, lost jobs, lost production, less revenue in the long-term. A tough sell to Alaskan businesses and Alaskans who are struggling to keep their heads above water. Like these Alaskan families.
So, it comes as no surprise that they are attempting to move the goal posts and change their argument to “a dysfunctional tax system is fine, as long as it is designed by noble people.”
A big thumbs up to Kevin Banks for highlighting the hypocrisy of his teammates behind the initiative. Banks describes himself as “recently retired from state government service, where he worked for several years for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. From 2006 to 2010 he directed the Division of Oil and Gas and had a hand in crafting how the ACES exploration tax credits worked to encourage investment from new players in Alaska’s North Slope oil industry. “ Say what???
The exploration tax credits he claims to be responsible for are the very same credits that Robin Brena, the author of the initiative, complains about and uses to justify ballot measure 1. These credits, owed to new explorers and smaller companies, offset the billions of dollars in severance tax actually paid by the North Slope producers. You loved them (the credits) before you hated them?
These are the very same credits that the legislature threw out a few years ago, because they weren’t getting the bang for the buck. We’re not sure we, or anyone for that matter, should be relying on Mr. Banks for advice on crafting tax policy that encourages investment.