The Palin family’s 16-year friends and sole supporters on the Alaskan airwaves – Bob and Mark – this morning devoted over a half hour of their show to Gov. Parnell’s repeated naked attempts to undermine and undo Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), which is one of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s signature accomplishments.
Gov. Parnell tried to scuttle ACES via HB 110 in this year’s legislative session, after failing to do it in last year’s session, where it died in the State Senate. The former lobbyist for ConocoPhillips and lawyer for Exxon-Mobil, however, will not take “no” for an answer. After two successive years of legislative session failures, he called a special legislative session for the sole purpose of destroying ACES. On April 7, 2011 Gov. Parnell bizarrely and infamously asked, “Really, how much [money] is enough?” referring to the money going into Alaska’s state surplus from taxes on oil and gas revenues derived from ACES.
Yes, unlike most other states in the union, thanks to Gov. Parnell’s predecessor – Sarah Palin – Alaska has a surplus. In Bizarre: AK Gov. Parnell asks “How much $ is Enough” for Surplus, I wrote:
He operates on the fanciful notion that by doing away with ACES, the top three oil companies will drill and explore in Alaska. Those shilling for the oil companies rail about what a “horrible” place Alaska is to do business, yet Alaska has some of the lowest taxes and much better working conditions than most of the nations these companies find preferable. Since ACES became law in 2007, Alaska has seen an increase in the amount of energy industry jobs….”ACES works, it’s been working, and will continue to work,” Bob and Mark said.
Gov. Parnell, along with the special interest group, “Make Alaska Competitive” (MAC) is doing the oil companies’ bidding. “He’s not evil,” said the talk show duo about Gov. Parnell, “just dead wrong with the give-aways. Others including his biggest supporters are looking at his plan and going ‘WTF?’ Even those against ACES are saying, ‘dude, your plan sucks!’”
Bob and Mark continued, “You’re talking about billions of dollars being shifted from our account to theirs with no promise they’ll do anything for Alaska.”
$4.2 Billion in Profits in 27 Months…and AK is not Competitive?
MAC and Gov. Parnell are lying. Oil companies are drilling and staying in Alaska – under ACES – and crying all the way to the bank. Bob and Mark said that ConocoPhillips posted $616 million for their first quarter profits – all of it earned in Alaska, which got $13 million in taxes and royalties. Their first quarter profits for the Lower 48 states were $248 million – less than half that for Alaska. On average, ConocoPhillips earns $7 million in profit per day, all of it in Alaska. They posted $1.9 billion in Alaskan profits for 2011 and $1.7 billion for 2010.
For two and one quarter years, ConocoPhillips earned $4.2 billion in profits in Alaska, which Gov. Parnell and MAC rail about being “non-competitive and a bad place to conduct business” for the oil companies.
“Numbers don’t lie. People are being hired. Up on the Slope, there’s lots of work,” Bob and Mark said. They predicted that “the special legislative session tax breaks for oil companies are due to fail. Gov. Parnell in effect wants to pay the companies to do their job they’re already being paid for. That’s called double-dipping. It’s getting to triple and quintuple-dipping.”
AK Rep. Lesil McGuire said Parnell’s plan is “half-baked.” AK Senator Bert Stedman said it is “dysfunctional.” And AK Senator, Hollis French said “ConocoPhillips earns $167,000 per hour. That’s enough money to build a high school in four days.”
Bob and Mark said prior to ACES, companies paid nothing in taxes in some cases and production still declined. “Parnell doesn’t like the ‘senators’ aggression’ but has been trying to stuff his bill down our throats for two years. You tend to lose a little bit of integrity when billions of dollars are involved. You can scream the sky is green 100 times a day, but that doesn’t mean it is.”
Further, representatives from the oil companies have brazenly said they would wait for elected officials to do their bidding. “To openly say they’ll wait for elected officials who will do what they want is scary,” Bob and Mark said.
Alaskans Own the Oil and Gas
“We own the oil! When the price of oil goes up, we get more money for it. Duh!”
ACES is a graduated tax system, whereby taxes on oil and gas revenues increase as the value of the resource increases – in the case of oil above $52 per barrel. A portion of this money goes into state savings and another portion is distributed to all Alaskans via the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Another point often missed when discussing ACES is that it contains a built-in incentive to explore and drill new fields by levying little or no tax when these operations are being conducted. Tax credits are given to develop new infrastructure and reinvest in existing infrastructure.
ACES was developed with strong bi-partisan support to supplant the Petroleum Profits Tax. Governor Palin signed ACES into law on December 19, 2007.
GO ACES! (both the tax system and Alaska’s hockey team)