Shortly after becoming governor in 2006, Gov. Sarah Palin pushed new oil taxes through the Alaska Legislature, saying the taxes proposed by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, were too favorable to the oil companies. She was bucking Exxon Mobil, BP PLC (BP) and ConocoPhillips, which strongly opposed the legislation. The new tax brought in an estimated $6 billion in the last budget year, bulging Alaska's treasury with an expected surplus of as much as $9 billion. That enabled Palin to push a second initiative - giving each Alaskan $1,200 to help them cope with high energy costs.
Let’s be clear, this was a tax increase by a Republcan Govenor in Alaska. She passed, what state of Wisconsin Republicans referred to as, a tax increase on consumers.
And yet according to Reince Priebus, chairman of Wisconsin Republicans, “She energizes the base beyond the imagination. She brings women to the table. She excites the party. She’s conservative. She’s a hunter.”How soon they forget. When Gov. Doyle introduced the big oil tax, the Capital Times reported:
Gov. Jim Doyle will propose taxing big oil companies more than $270 million over the next two years to help pay for the state's transportation needs. Doyle said the assessment will equate to $1.50 per barrel of oil sold in the state, and the companies would be prohibited from passing the tax on to customers at the pump by raising the price of gas. A longtime critic of big oil companies' profits, Doyle promised aggressive
enforcement of the provision, with any violation carrying a criminal penalty of up to six months in prison.
But that’s a tax increase. An increase that will be passed along to consumers, right? That's when the crying began:
Big oil a “vulnerable group?”
Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the proposed tax on oil companies is illegal because the state can't stop oil companies from passing on the tax to consumers. Similar assessments on oil companies are in place in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Alaska.
Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin, also panned the governor's tax hikes. "At the end of the day it's the average citizen who is paying the tax."
Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said the deal continues to pay for new spending "through gimmicks, targeted tax increases on vulnerable groups ...!
With massive state budget shortfalls, thanks to the Bush economic disaster, that big oil tax money would have come in handy. Just ask the Alaskan’s who received the $1200 energy rebate generated from big oil tax revenue.
Note: Not surprisingly, Gov. Palin goes down the rabbit hole with her argument against the same tax she got for Alaskans. Palin says a national windfall profits tax on oil companies will hinder domestic energy production. Democrats are expected to be quick to ask: If it's good for Alaska, why isn't it good for the country?