JUNEAU, Alaska, May 28, 2014—A poll result of Alaska small-business owners released today shows big support for defeating an August ballot initiative that would restore the old method of taxing oil and gas.
“The energy sector is the life blood of the Alaska economy,” said Denny DeWitt, Alaska state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s Voice of Small Business. “Senate Bill 21 seeks to keep that blood flowing smoothly by removing the blockage caused by an antiquated, progressive tax system that was choking off future investment and replace it with a flat tax that opens up continued revenues and jobs for the state. To return to the old way, which voting ‘Yes’ on Prop. 1 would do, would be to give Alaska a politically self-inflicted wound it would not easily recover from.”
NFIB conducted the poll of its membership on this issue by email and fax last week. When asked if SB 21 be repealed, 68 percent of respondents said ‘No,’ 27 percent said ‘Yes’ and 5 percent were undecided. DeWitt admitted proponents of Prop. 1 have an easier time of selling their message, because getting some voters to realize that if they support SB 21, they have to vote ‘No’ on the ballot measure, such are the nature of referenda.
BACKGROUND: The Legislature passed SB 21 during its 2013 session. It changed the method of taxing oil and gas production in Alaska. SB 21 repealed the portion of the tax that progressively increased the tax rate beginning at 25 percent at $30 per barrel and progressively increasing the tax rate to 50 percent, plus a multiple factor at $92.50 per barrel up to a 75 percent maximum rate. SB 21 established a level 35 percent tax rate. It also changed the tax credit from a credit based on expenditures to a credit based on production of oil. It did not change royalties, property tax or corporate income taxes on oil production.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business/Alaska
P.O. Box 34761
Juneau, AK 99801