SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaskans file to repeal oil giveaway;
Vic Fischer, Bella Hammond, Jim Whitaker prime sponsors of SB 21 repeal referendum


April 22, 2013
Monday PM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - A petition was filed Thursday with 372 signatures to begin the process of repealing SB 21, described as the oil giveaway that passed the Alaska state legislature recently.  Constitutional framer Vic Fischer, former First Lady Bella Hammond, and former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Whitaker are the three prime sponsors of the referendum.

Supporters of the repeal referendum say SB 21 reduces Alaskans’ oil income by some $1 billion per year, transferring that wealth from citizen resource owners to multinational oil companies.  As a result of this oil wealth giveaway, the Governor’s own staff projects a $1.6 billion budget deficit next year.  SB 21 contains no guarantees of new oil production, and oil executives testified to the Alaska legislature that there isn’t a single new project that would move forward as a result of this bill quoting a news release.

“Jay Hammond never would have proposed giving away Alaska’s resources, and he certainly wouldn’t have supported SB 21,” said Bella Hammond, former First Lady of Alaska.  Jay Hammond was Alaska’s Republican Governor between 1976 and 1982 and helped lead the creation of Alaska’s Permanent Fund and Permanent Fund Dividend.

“When we wrote Alaska’s Constitution, the delegates ensured that Alaskans could use the referendum to reject acts of the legislature. We are now using this constitutional right to reject the preposterous SB 21 oil giveaway,” said Democrat Vic Fischer, delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention and former state Senator.

“SB 21 is a terrible business decision.  This referendum gives all Alaskans an opportunity to review the decision and reverse it,” said Jim Whitaker, former Republican Mayor of Fairbanks-North Star Borough and state Representative.

 “When I was in the Legislature, I was involved in the legislation that set up the investment strategy for the Permanent Fund. It was our dream to build the fund so large its profits that it would replace the income from Prudhoe as Prudhoe wound down. If SB 21 is left to stand we will never get there and the most calamitous collapse of a state's economy this country has ever seen will follow,” said Ray Metcalfe, a former state Republican legislator and a key organizer of the referendum.

The Lieutenant Governor must certify this referendum application before supporter of the referendum can begin collecting the 30,050 valid signatures necessary to place repeal of SB 21 on the ballot, which is a significant challenge. 

The Alaska Legislature passed the Governor's oil tax reform legislation on April 14, 2013., “I applaud legislators for fostering an open, respectful, and honest dialogue with Alaskans,” Governor Parnell said in a news release. “They have passed legislation that meets our four guiding principles: this legislation is fair to Alaskans, it encourages new production, it is simple and restores balance to the system, and the tax structure is competitive and durable. Alaska’s oil comeback starts now.”

Governor Sean Parnell praised the Alaska Legislature for passing his oil tax reform legislation. Quoting a news release, the Governor says the legislation is designed to increase opportunity for Alaskans and grow Alaska’s economy. The passage follows years of study, public debate and testimony.

Quoting a news release from the Governor's office, Senate Bill 21 eliminates the complicated “progressivity” feature of the current tax system and replaces it with a simple 35 percent base rate and a per barrel tax credit tied directly to the production of oil.

By ensuring Alaska’s treasury is not exposed to the risk of paying $1 billion and more in tax credits when oil prices are low, and keeping the state competitively positioned when prices are high, Senate Bill 21 is fairer to Alaskans regardless of the price of oil according to a news release from the Governor. The legislation restructures the tax credit system so the state is not on the hook for billions of dollars in tax credits not specifically tied to production. This legislation replaces those credits with tax incentives that are applied based on actual oil production.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Source of News: 

Sponsors of SB 21 repeal
Vic Fischer (Anchorage), Bella Hammond (Port Alsworth), and Jim Whitaker (Fairbanks)

Office of the Governor

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