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Knowles' Exxon Proposal Full of False Hope Says Murkowski


October 07, 2004

Following the announcement that Tony Knowles would introduce federal legislation to "force" a judgment in the Exxon Valdez settlement case, U.S. Senator Murkowski blasted her opponent's actions as a campaign promise full of false hope.
Murkowski said that Knowles had eight years as Governor of Alaska to leverage for a final settlement of the Exxon Valdez case. Now, when Knowles has decided to run for the Senate and needs the votes of Alaska's fishermen and those affected by the 1989 spill, he has decided to take up the issue. Unfortunately, his actions are misleading at best and may in fact prolong any resolution in the case.
"This legislation will only prolong what has already been a 16 year process," spokesman Elliott Bundy said. "To tell the 32,000 Alaskans still waiting for payment in this case that he will somehow be able to solve their problems with a magic bullet is cruel and misleading. Instead of empty campaign promises, what we need is real leadership on this issue, and that's what we have from Senator Murkowski."
The Knowles plan would have the current value of the settlement placed into an escrow account, removing Exxon's interest earning potential, but doing nothing to force resolution in the case says Murkowski. In fact, if this legislation were considered, the likely result would be a prolonged process and the potential for future litigation.
Murkowski said instead of campaign year promises giving false hope to Alaskans, Knowles should focus on real solutions for our fishermen.  One such suggestion being pushed by Senator Murkowski is allowing income averaging so that plaintiffs aren't thrown into the highest tax bracket when they finally get their money from Exxon. Income averaging would let plaintiffs spread out the value of their award over the last 16 years for tax purposes.  Without such averaging, fishermen are likely to pay nearly half of their award to the government.  These are the real solutions Senator Murkowski says she is focused on.
The tax code currently allows income averaging for farmers, and the pending FISC/ETI bill contains language allowing fishermen to income average to account for fluctuations in market conditions and prices.  Senator Murkowski will urge Congress next year to expand this further to allow Exxon Valdez impacted fishermen to include their awards in their income averaging to help reduce their tax liabilities.


Related news:

Knowles Proposes Action To Force Exxon Valdez Judgment; "Justice for Alaska Fishing Families" Act Aims to Pressure Exxon to Settle with those Harmed by Spill...
October 06, 2004


Source of News:

Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate Campaign
Web Site



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