by Deborah Brollini
I have been sniffing around about what was going on during the 1990s where Alaska's oil production curve had reversed and flattened for several years under then Governor Tony Knowles (D), Speaker of the House Gail Phillips (R), and Senate President Drue Pearce’s (R) leadership. Governor Knowles and the legislature in partnership with the oil industry increased oil production, and reversed the decline curved in the mid-1990s during the days of $9.00 oil. There was no partisan bickering during this time because Governor Knowles had vision, and understood that Alaska was "living on borrowed time."
Since 2006, Alaska’s oil tax debate has been nothing but partisan politics. There is a lot of rhetoric and talking points spewed with no forward thinking offering long-term solutions, or vision. Governor Tony Knowles clearly understood that the state of Alaska was in dire straights, and it was up to him, and his administration to think outside the box, and to rally all parties to a united win. This is called leadership that this state has been lacking since the Knowles administration, and yes he is a democrat. But, first and foremost Governor Knowles is an Alaskan who has rooted his family and businesses in this state, and continues to champion a “can do spirit” because he believes that Alaska is full of such great opportunity if we would just get out of our own way.
I do wish Governor Sean Parnell, and the Alaska state legislature would muster up some courage to lead and think about future generations when making decisions. I think it is time to take a look at the Knowles administration's model that was “Market Alaska,” where the administration and the legislature reached out to the oil industry because there was a shared understanding that Alaska’s future, and the oil companies’ futures were linked. "Market Alaska" resulted in increased oil production, and increased capital investment on the North Slope, and in the end all parties won. We need to be rallying for prosperity for the next generation of Alaskans, and spending less time trying to undermine their futures, and fighting about who is right. Our children deserve better.
Managing Alaska by Baldrige
Aligning Alaska's business interests
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Since 2007, Alaska has been exploring for oil outside existing fields which has resulted in additional jobs. However, with Alaska'a Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) oil tax policy, the increased oil exploration and increased jobs have not resulted in additional oil into the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS), or increased tax revenue to the state.
"Market Alaska" resulted in increasing oil production because exploration and development occurred in existing fields despite $9.00 oil. The speech given by Governor Knowles was filled with optimism, and he speaks of a shared commitment by all parties to move Alaska's forward.