Ballot Measure 1 Online Forum
By: Patty Haugom
In September VIA leaders decided we needed to present an online forum on Ballot Measure 1, after talking to many residents who were confused by the issue and were having a hard time trying to figure out which way to vote. This is a complicated issue and it’s of vital importance to the financial future of the state of Alaska. There were lots of sound bites on the news, but they didn’t give detailed information or explanations. We decided that it would be very helpful to the general population if we could present an online public forum where both sides of the issue could be presented and explained.
Ballot Measure 1 would make changes to oil and gas production taxes for some North Slope oil fields. The minimum alternative tax on the gross value of Alaskan crude would be readjusted, increasing the minimum rate from 4% to 10 % with a rate that could increase the rate to 15%. It would also adjust production taxes by limiting or eliminating certain deductions and tax credits. Also, the ballot measure would require tax filings associated with the affected oil fields to be made a matter of public record.
Since Ballot Measure 1 affects everyone in the state of Alaska, several members of VIA and AFACT ( Anchorage Faith and Action Congregations Together) met online for several weeks working out the details, working together on the online forum. We invited both sides of the issue to be part of the forum and present their sides. We formulated questions to be asked, and set guidelines. We worked at figuring out the technical aspect of the presentation, as the forum met on Zoom but was streamed live on Facebook. We chose Brian Bjorkquist to be our moderator. Janet Weiss, former president of BP Alaska, spoke for VOTE NO on Ballot Measure #1. Dr. Mark Meyers; past petroleum geologist, past Commissioner of Natural Resources, and present world wide energy project consultant, spoke for VOTE YES on Ballot Measure #1.
We held the online forum on Wednesday evening Oct, 7. This forum can be viewed at:
www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3351352798265563. So far, 204 people have engaged with the video online, which includes viewing it for at least 1 minute or more, commenting, and/or sharing the video.