There’s no doubt that Bill Thomas has brought home the bacon for Haines, and we all appreciate it. The question is whether there will be bacon to bring home in the years to come.
Thomas endangered the fiscal stability of both our community and the entire state when he voted in favor of Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposal to give the oil industry what amounts to a $2-billion-a-year tax rebate. Debra Schnabel implied that all incumbent legislators, not just Thomas, benefit from oil industry money. The facts do not support that claim.
Thirty-six state representatives (including Thomas) are seeking re-election this year. Fifteen voted against the oil company tax cut, 20 for it. Compare the average contributions they received from the oil industry: $7 to legislators who opposed the oil company tax cut; $2,518 to legislators who supported it.
Exxon Mobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips make billions of dollars in profit drilling Alaska oil. They don’t need a tax rebate. An annual $2 billion giveaway ensures there will be dramatically less money for any legislator, whether Thomas or Kreiss-Tomkins or anyone else, to bring home to Haines. The rebate is not tied to any guarantee of higher production – it is simply a giveaway.
We elect our legislators to represent our district’s interests. When those interests run counter to those of the oil industry, we need confidence that our legislator will represent his constituents. What could be more practical?