Anchorage: Activists Rally for Medicaid Expansion, Oil Tax Law Revision

Supporters of Medicaid expansion have continued their efforts with rallies in downtown Anchorage this week.

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An Anchorage based political group again called on the state Legislature to make changes in oil tax credits now.

Backbone is an activist group loosely made up of a former state lawmakers and community leaders who are opposed to current state policies regarding oil taxation.

Group members positioned themselves around a table downtown today to demand that state legislators get back to work.

Vic Fisher, himself a former state lawmaker and a signer of the state Constitution, says the current legislative impasse is unacceptable. Fisher says it’s a few key figures in the government who are blocking a decision on the budget:

“These decisions are being made by the legislative leadership — the chairs of committees, the speaker, the president, the Senate. So that’s where the responsibility lies.  They are the ones who have to reach out to the governor, work with the governor… they’re the ones who have to work with the minority if that’s what it takes to serve the people of Alaska.”

The problem, former Anchorage mayor Jack Roderick says, is that the Legislature has lost control of the oil industry.

“The Legislature… I think most of this is way over their heads. Except for maybe a couple of people who work for the oil companies and are key members of the Legislature. And you can not serve two masters at the same time.”

Fisher says it is not a matter of changing current oil tax law, but at pinpointing the problems that exist within it to hammer out an equitable solution for both the oil companies and for the people of Alaska.