Since oil was discovered on Alaska’s North Slope, discussions about taxes the oil industry should pay have been key to both state revenues and the companies’ investment plans. They’re also a regular topic in the legislature and especially during election season. The taxes placed on oil companies fund state coffers but lately more and louder voices have wanted to increase taxes on oil companies.
In 2014, an initiative was on Alaska’s ballot to change (again) the tax plan passed by the legislature. Stakes were high among the business community. The boards of many Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) were torn between what their shareholders wanted, and supporting their business lines (most own oil field service companies). The oil companies were putting immense pressure on the ANCs to support the initiative. One asked me to prepare a review of the issues for presentation to the organization’s board of directors ahead of their taking a position.