Yes On 1 Wins Debate as Opposition Debater Admits Production Revenues Should be Raised

October 7, 2020

Contact: David Dunsmore (907)278-8000 (headquarters) or (907)830-4288 (cell)

Yesterday Yes On 1 debaters Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-East Anchorage) and oil and gas attorney and initiative sponsor Robin Brena convincingly won a debate as opposition spokesman Aaron Schutt conceded that Alaska needs to raise oil taxes. Brena and Wielechowski debated Schutt and Roger Marks representing OneAlaska, the oil industry front group which has received over 95% of its funding from four Outside oil producers, in an online event hosted by Alaska Common Ground. The event was attended by hundreds of Alaskans across the state, with many oil industry supporters in the audience.

The organizers polled attendees of the virtual event before and after the debate. Before the debate 56% of the audience were planning to vote yes on Ballot Measure 1 and after the debate that rose to 68%.

“Alaskans have suffered under Senate Bill 21 for the past five years, and are figuring out we are not getting a fair deal for our oil,” Brena observed. “Last night’s debate shows that the more Alaskans hear both sides and learn the facts, the more likely they are to vote yes on Ballot Measure 1.”

During the debate, Schutt concede that Alaska should raise oil production revenue, but said taxes needed to be raised on Alaskans as well. “I clearly recognize the need for new revenue for Alaska. In my opinion that new revenue does need to include some additional amount from the oil and gas industry,” Schutt said during the debate [timestamp: 42:00]. “But we also need new revenue from other industries in Alaska.”

“I applaud the opposition for admitting that Alaska’s oil revenue’s should be raised,” Wielechowski said. “The fact is every single Alaskan has already lost over $7,000 from their PFDs to pay for the the production revenue crisis. We must fix our broken production revenue system this year and Ballot Measure 1 is the only new revenue that can be implemented this fiscal year.”

“While it’s nice hear that Alaskans opposing Ballot Measure 1 are finally starting to admit Alaska needs to get a better deal for our oil,” Brena acknowledged, “the Texas‑based oil companies taking our oil are doing everything possible to avoid giving back even a penny of what they took from us through Senate Bill 21. Ballot Measure 1 must be passed by the Alaskan voters on November 3rd because Juneau simply isn’t capable of getting back a fair share for us.”

“We want to thank Alaska Common Ground for organizing an excellent debate, and Drew for doing a great job as the moderator of a spirited debate,” Brena concluded.

Ballot Measure 1 would increase Alaska’s share of production revenue only from Alaska’s three largest and most profitable oil fields. It would end the shroud of secrecy and make company profits on these fields public information so it can no longer be hidden. The Fair Share Act will be decided by voters in the November 3 election.

For additional information contact campaign manager David Dunsmore at (907)278-8000 (headquarters) or (907)830-4288 (cell).