Sunday, February 12, 2012

Junkets and Taxes: The Politics of Juneau

By law, the legislative session is just 90 days long and once again, Mike Chenault has scheduled another golf trip, oh, I mean lobbying trip to DC during a week of that already short session.  You might remember that last year, just before the crucial vote on oil taxes, Mike skipped out to play golf in Atlanta, saying he was attending some country-wide state leadership conference. Um, there's no evidence that he attended any meetings that weren't held on the links. 

The leadership group really doesn't schedule any meetings, well meetings that the various state legislatures from around the country actually attend. It's a vacation club on the government dime.  Golf last year, fishing and sight-seeing ANWR this year.

The DC junket that Chenault is going on this time is officially to lobby to open ANWR, but of course, Alaska pays lobbyists to do just that.  Mike and the other legislatures that are going are not talking to the press about what they did or will actually do. When's T-time Mike?

SOL has not been kind to another of our local politicos, Tom Wagoner.  But maybe that attitude will change  a little. Tom is working on the senate re-write of the ACES tax scheme.  Much to his credit, he didn't roll over like the industry lapdogs, Chenault and Kurt Olson during last year's session.  It will be curious to see the bill that does come out of the senate.  I'm sure you've all aware of the record profits the big 3 oil companies made last year, despite being taxed to death like the governor insists.

The ADN has a good piece about the debate here. Stay informed.  The oil in the ground belongs to us, not the oil companies.  I don't understand why we need to charge less than the going rate to companies that are so, so profitable.  That is not a good business decision and don't we want government run like a business?

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