Court orders wording change on Alaska oil tax ballot summary
(AP) - Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has been ordered to change the language of the ballot summary for a proposed act that seeks to raise taxes on the oil industry.
The Alaska Supreme Court upheld a ruling by Superior Court Judge William Morse, who found in June that Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer did not provide an impartial summary of the measure as required by law, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The Fair Share Act is designed to make the tax filings of the state’s major oil producers “a matter of public record.” The legislation is expected to bring in about $1 billion extra in production taxes, targeting producers with the largest oil fields, including Prudhoe Bay.
Meyer had proposed a summary that claimed if the act passed, tax fillings would allow the state’s normal process for the public records act. Morse ruled that the summary implies the act would allow the state to deprive the public access to the records.
Meyer and the state Division of Elections were named in the lawsuit in November by ballot measure group Vote Yes For Alaska’s Fair Share Act.
“It is unfortunate we had to bring suit against Lt. Gov. Meyer to get him to fulfill his duty to provide a true and impartial summary of the Fair Share Act, but this is a victory for the voters,” initiative chair Robin Brena said. “The Supreme Court upheld their right to an unbiased ballot summary.”
In the ruling, the state Supreme Court partially approved a request from Meyer to add the line: “The act does not specify the process for disclosure of the public records.”
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