Ballot Measure 1 may be failing statewide, but in Sitka and the rest of central Southeast Alaska, it was a clear winner on Tuesday. Seventy-five percent of Sitka voters backed the measure, with 1315 “yes” votes to just 448 “no” votes.
Tuesday, August 19th, is primary day in Alaska. Sitka voters will be choosing candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. House and Senate, and State Representative, and deciding the fate of the state’s oil tax structure.
Supporters of the state’s new oil tax regime have launched a major campaign to defeat a citizen initiative which would restore the old tax. Former Sitkan Rocky Elerding traveled from Ketchikan this week (1-22-14) to speak to Sitka’s Chamber of Commerce on the issue. The 1995 Sitka High graduate’s 20-minute Powerpoint echoed much of the tax reform debate that dominated the Alaska legislative session last year.
The second session of the 28th Alaska Legislature opens today (Tue 1-21-14), and Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins has something he lacked last year: Experience. While he’s still the youngest legislator on the hill in Juneau, and still a member of the minority, the Sitka Democrat has already pre-filed one bill on Native languages, and remains deeply skeptical of the governor’s efforts to boost oil production by reducing taxes on industry profits.