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Oil tax repeal movement facing deadline for signatures

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June 12, 2013

Alaska

By Alex Murray

JUNEAU, Alaska: Opponents of the recently-signed oil tax overhaul have until tomorrow to meet signature and geographic requirements in order to put a repeal measure on the state ballot next year.

The Alaska Oil Tax Cuts Vets Referendum, which is supported by the Vote Yes! Repeal the Giveaway group, needs 30,169 signatures by June 13 in order to be placed on the 2014 ballot. The signatures would also need to include seven percent of last year's general election voters in 30 of 40 districts.[1] Opponents of the overhaul say the law amounts to a handout to oil producers such as BP and ConocoPhillips with no guarantee of return, and that revenue would be reduced dramatically.[2]

Opponents of repeal have been mounting their own efforts. The Consumer Energy Alliance and Make Alaska Competitive Coalition have been hosting a joint resolution and petition against repeal on their websites, saying that it would have negative financial impact on Alaskans.[2][3]

Meanwhile, the immediate effects of the tax cuts remain uncertain. On June 3, BP announced a $1 billion investment over the next five years, although Janet Weiss, president of BP Alaska, noted that even though the tax cut would increase the work rate, the work was bound to occur regardless of the bill.[4]

Senate Bill 21, championed and signed by Gov. Sean Parnell (R), eliminated the previous ACES system, which progressively taxed higher profits, and replaced it with a 35 percent base rate with a $5-per-barrel exemption, among other incentives. The law goes into effect in January 2014.[1]

Only three repeal measures have reached the state ballot previously.[1]

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