I am interested in what Governor Palin accomplished/did not accomplish while serving as Governor of Alaska. I want to decide if she was a tax cutter, or if she cleaned up a culture of corruption within the state Legislature, no matter what party the corruption was taking place in, and, I want to know if she made decisions in a manner that is consistent with conservatism. I am currently looking at the issue of the controversial ACES bill, the PPT, and Corruption.
What is ACES? (Alaska Clear and Equitable Share)
From an article posted on the Alaska Government website Palin said-
“Getting fair value for our own resource is the only way we can be self-sustaining and less reliant upon the Federal Government. It also fulfills the mandates in our state constitution. But inherently in that responsibility is also the need to explore for more.”
Alaska’s Federal portion of General Revenues- This is what Palin referred to above.
2008- 14% (Palin said she wanted to be “less reliant” on the Federal Government, and it appears she has accomplished that)
You have to read the bill to see that this was not just a tax slapped on the oil companies. There are incentives for investments, a protection for smaller oil producers, that extract under a certain number of barrels, tax credits, cost credits and etc. It is very involved.
Referred to in the above link, ACES replaces the PPT (Petroleum Profits Tax) which was passed in a cloud of corruption.
Alaska State Senate President- Ben Stevens (R) (Ted Stevens son)
Rep. Pete Kott (R)
Rep. Vic Kohring (R)
Rep. Tom Anderson (R)
Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch (R)
Senator John Cowdery
Senator Ted Stevens (R)
Rep. Don Young (R)
VECO– The oil company involved
Bill Allen, CEO
Rick Smith, VP
Of special interest, please see entry for Sept. 2006-
“The FBI conducted a search for clothing that mockingly was labeled “Corrupt Bastards Club.”
Every one of the State Reps. and the State Senator was found guilty of various charges, and most spent time in jail for their hand in the corruption. Federal Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty, but, now I understand he isn’t guilty, you decide. Corruption doesn’t live only in the Democrat party. It is unfortunate that every politician listed is Republican. The Legislature at the time had Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate. Aren’t these the exact kind of people we all are bee-itching about in Washington today? Aren’t these the same kinds of people that drove many Republicans away from the party?
Despite Tax Increase, Oil Profits Rise– July 2008
The main fear with the tax increase was that the oil companies would not invest in future projects in the state, and would possibly move to other states/countries. That was not the case, as you will read that Conoco Phillips and BP profits increased after ACES.
Article in Bloomberg.com– 9/6/08
Palin Boosted Oil Company Taxes while Alaska had a Budget Surplus
(This article appeared one week after Palin was chosen as the VP candidate, and, was a pre-cursor of what was to come.) Some comments from the article-
“(ACES) will raise oil revenue to $11 billion this year–almost twice what what the state needs to fund it’s government.”
“Alaska has also gotten more money from the federal government than it’s residents pay in taxes–$1.75 per tax dollar in 2006, the most recent year available, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington research group.” (If I am not mistaken, that tax amount would have come from the previous Governors numbers.)
“There’s never a good reason to raise taxes said Grovor Norquist, President Americans for Tax Reform, Washington group that encourages politicians to sign a no-new tax pledge.” (The ACES taxes were not Alaska citizen taxes, they were on oil company profits.) Alaska has no state income, property, or sales tax.
“Chris Edwards, economist and state budget expert at Cato Institute said- “Palin’s oil tax is similar to the windfall profits tax proposed by Democrat Presidential nominee Barack Obama.” (For an economist, this statement was misguided, misleading and dishonest.)
“McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin called Palin’s tax “progressive”, not a windfall profits tax. It doesn’t divide profits into windfall and other profits.”
“Oil companies weren’t happy with the plan when it passed.” (Of course they weren’t)
“The massive increase will weaken investment in Alaska’s oilfields at the very time that more investment is needed, Doug Suttles, President BP Exploration Alaska said.” (This was proven not to be true.)
The article includes some complaints about some spending cuts Palin made-
Cut a local hockey association funds to buy a blade sharpener for it’s Zambonie machine.
Cut $300,000. for a Catholic Community service family counseling and adoption program.
Cut $6,200 to repair a sidewalk in front of an Anchorage elementary school.
Cut $6 million to replace an aging Anchorage fire station.
From an Alaskan website- FinebergResearch.com
Palin Mistakes on Energy Issues In Going Rogue Raise Questions About Her Capacity to Govern
Notice Mr. Feinberg in the picture with George Soros as they discuss Alaska’s Petroleum.
Alaska’s major source of Revenue is Petroleum. The PPT corruption debacle caused Palin to look for other ways to tax the oil companies for the resource they were drilling for and selling. The tax is a “progressive tax” as the rate increases with the number of barrels extracted, and also depends on the price of oil on the stock market. It is not a windfall profits tax, as the tax is on all profits. The amount of revenue for the state, as well as the profitability of the oil companies are determined by the price per barrel averaged. Of course the Oil companies will fight any increase in taxes, or any other expenses that will go against their bottom lines.The big “fear” was that the oil companies would not invest in future projects in Alaska because of the new tax structure, however, the oil companies still recorded increased profits even after the tax increase. They have also increased their investments in future projects.
I welcome any other information that anyone may have Pro or Con about the issues I have researched above. I just ask, please provide links. The only way to determine if Palin is conservative enough, or if she has governed well enough, is to look at her record.