Friday Fact Check: Will the real Al Gross please stand up?

In News, Uncategorized by Owen Phillips

While telling Alaskans that he’s an independent, he’s telling donors that it’s a ruse to get elected, he plans to caucus with democrats, who are planning to stop resource development in Alaska.   

‘My Values Are To The Left’: Independent Alaska Senate Candidate Tells DNC He’s With Them
Colin Anderson, Washington Free Beacon, August 22, 2020

Senate challenger Al Gross told Democratic donors behind closed doors that his run as an “independent Alaskan” is a front.

“I will caucus with the Democrats. I’ve been an independent since I was 18, but if you look at my platform, you’ll see that most of my values are to the left,” Gross said Wednesday. “I’ve met with leadership in the Senate and they are very understanding that my best pathway to win is to remain as an independent.”

The concession—which Gross made while appealing to national donors during a Democratic National Committee virtual happy hour—is at odds with his campaign’s positioning. In a July ad, Gross said he was “running for U.S. Senate as an independent Alaskan,” adding that “out here, if you can’t think for yourself, you won’t survive.”

This isn’t the first time Dr. Gross has made statements that concern us. In May we wrote about his opposition to Alaska’s current oil tax structure:  

Friday Fact Check: In a recent interview with the National Journal, US Senate candidate Dr. Al Gross made statements that suggest he a) doesn’t understand the economics of the  oil & gas industry in Alaska, b) doesn’t care about the economics of the oil & gas industry in Alaska or c) will say anything to anybody in order to get elected.

We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, assume he doesn’t understand the economics, and give him some help so that he doesn’t make the same mistake in the future:

  • Instead of saying “I think it’s going to be clear to Alaskans that this (SB 21) was a really bad piece of legislation as it relates to them,” we suggest “Since SB 21 passed, oil companies have paid Alaska $8.7 billion in taxes and $13.8 billion in total state revenue.” 
  • Instead of claiming that SB 21 was “Good for special corporate interests. Bad for Alaskan families”, we suggest “Since SB 21 passed, Alaskan families – a family-owned clothing store in Kenai, a family-owned fabrication shop in Fairbanks, a family-owned engineering firm in Anchorage – have seen their business double.”  
  • Instead of calling  SB 21 a “barrel of poison” and saying he “would like to see it replaced”, we suggest “Under SB 21, the state has received more oil and more revenue than was projected under the old tax system. Why mess with something that works?”

If Dr. Gross is serious about representing ALL Alaskans, we hope he rethinks his careless statements. One-quarter of all Alaska’s jobs are attributed to the oil and gas industry. 75% of the unrestricted state revenue from businesses to the state comes from oil and gas. Since SB 21 passed, over $2.7 billion has been deposited in the Alaska Permanent Fund. Clearly our current tax structure is good for Alaska, good for Alaskans, good for Alaskan families and doesn’t need to be replaced.