GOVERNOR'S RACE: DEBATE #1
BERKOWITZ STRESSES THE NEED TO JUMP-START ALASKA'S ECONOMY IN FRONT OF KENAI BUSINESS LEADERS
Immediate Press Release - September 14, 2010
Soldotna, AK –Appearing in the first Gubernatorial Debate for the 2010 General Election, Democratic candidate Ethan Berkowitz stressed the need to jump start Alaska's faltering economy. Berkowitz reminded voters that Alaska has been ranked dead last by national reports in terms of business opportunities and the business climate.
"All talk and no action is not acceptable in the Governor's mansion. Sean Parnell should change his campaign slogan to 'Talk is My Action'," Berkowitz said. "Too many Alaskans are looking for work, especially down here on the Kenai Peninsula. It's out of touch the $500 million bailout Sean Parnell gave to TransCanada/Exxon for a 'pig in a poke' pipeline while ignoring the loss of Agrium and good paying peninsula based jobs. Alaskans are saying 'we want our gas now, and we want Alaskan jobs now'…Sean Parnell says 'let them eat cake'."
Berkowitz noted key facts recently released and reported on in the August edition of Alaska Business Monthly Magazine:
- Year Over Year gas production for Alaska – DOWN 10%
- Year Over Year oil production for Alaska – DOWN 13%
- Exploratory Rig Count in Alaska - NO INCREASE
- Exploratory Rig Count in the Lower 48 - UP 49%
- Oil and Gas Jobs in Alaska - DOWN 4.6%
According to CNBC, Alaska again ranked dead last for business among all 50 states. And compared to last year Alaska actually lost ground in several categories, including education, business friendliness and access to capital.Where once the state's largest workforce included oil and gas workers, now low paying service sector titans such as Wal-Mart, Carrs and Safeway are the state largest employers, according to the survey.
"Alaska has the 5th highest corporate tax rate in the country and we are taxing oil and gas production out of business," Berkowitz said. "All of these negative indicators are real for Alaskans. And they are the direct result of the ACES oil tax hike sponsored and supported to this day by Sean Parnell. On the same day major film production studios have announced they are coming to Alaska because of a tax break offered by the state, Sean Parnell strongly defends his decision to impose the largest tax increase ever on our largest industry. We are literally taxing ourselves out of business and we have created one of the most hostile business environments in the world," Berkowitz noted. "Without new real production on the North Slope the oil pipeline runs a real risk of beginning to close down as soon as 2014. That is not my quote, it comes from Alyeska Pipeline Company," Ethan observed.
According to the August Alaska Business Monthly article, entitled "Man-made obstacles may close trans-Alaska pipeline by 2014," today TAPS carries just 640,000 barrels of oil. Also according to the article and Alyeska engineers, "the point at which operating problems set in is a throughput of 500,000 barrels per day," a rate expected to be reached by 2014 if nothing else changes in terms of North Slope production.
"Sean Parnell says he is for jobs. He is partially right, but up to now he has been focused on four jobs: First, Sean has focused on saving his current job. Second, he tried to illegally give a state job to former rep. Nancy Dahlstrom. Third, he tried to illegally give a state job to former state senator Gene Therriault. But the fourth and biggest job is the snow job he is trying to sell Alaska voters on his poor leadership performance as acting-Governor," Berkowitz observed.
"At the same time, I have unveiled Part I of my Alaskan Ownership Stake, a plan designed to return Alaska's greatness to individual Alaskans. Part I is centered around allowing individual Alaskans to 'Own a Piece of Pipe', a proposal first floated by Ted Stevens, Don Young and Lisa Murkowski, but ignored by Frank Murkowski, Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell for the last 5 years. The response to this proposal has been tremendous and we are seeing real momentum in our campaign from around Alaska as a result. Alaskans want the chance to make decisions for themselves and to invest in our resources, and frankly they are upset Sean is telling them "no" on the pipeline.
"Sean was given a rare opportunity when he stepped in to keep the seat warm after Sarah Palin left. Yet his unique job interview for the last year and a half has been a total disappointment for Alaska."
To learn more about The Alaskan Ownership Stake, the Own a Piece of Pipe, go to www.EthanBerkowitz.com. And watch for Part II of the plan to be unveiled very soon.