Signature Collection Starts For Oil Tax Referendum

With the signature booklets hot off the printers, opponents of a controversial tax cut for oil companies should be able to start gathering support for their referendum Tuesday.

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Vic Fischer, one of the lead organizers behind the repeal movement, says they’re taking a grassroots approach.

“There’ll be some standing on the street, outside the post office,” says Fischer. “And there will be others who will circulate at community meetings wherever they can.”

Backers of the referendum have until July 13 to collect more than 30,000 signatures, if they want their question to appear on next year’s ballot. But Fischer says they want even more than that: They’re try to get over 40,000 voters to join their effort.

There are a few reasons for that. Logistically, organizers want insurance in case some of their signatures don’t qualify, and they have enough support from districts across the state. Deborah Vogt, an organizer in Southeast, says there’s also a political benefit to going beyond the minimum number required by the state.

“It’s certainly an opportunity to start campaigning — to crank people up about voting about on the referendum, even though it’s over a year away.”

While the “Vote Yes — Repeal the Giveaway” effort may already be underway, the measure they’re seeking to repeal has not yet been signed into law. Gov. Sean Parnell, who has long championed tax cuts as a way of encouraging oil production, is still waiting for the bill to transmitted to his office. The bill attracted opposition from a mix of Democrats and coastal Republicans, who argued that it would cost the state about a billion dollars in revenue without any commitments from oil companies.