Fired Oil Tax Assessor To Run For State House

In January, Gov. Sean Parnell removed Marty McGee from a board that deals with the oil producers’ tax bill. Now, McGee wants to take on oil tax policy again – but as a state legislator.

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McGee filed his campaign paperwork on Friday. He’s running for the District 22 House seat, which covers the Sand Lake neighborhood of Anchorage.

Even though the 57-year-old McGee has been a registered Republican for his adult life, he’s changed his party affiliation and will be running as a Democrat. He says he doesn’t feel like there’s space for him to run as a centrist Republican.

“The moderates are being pushed aside and not allowed to be a real material part of making policy and introducing legislation,” says McGee. “That’s why I think that I can be most effective as a Democrat in the Legislature.”

McGee has had his share of conflict with some of the state’s most prominent Republicans.

For nearly a decade McGee served on the State Assessment Review Board. That board is responsible for deciding the value of the TransAlaska Pipeline, and that number is used to calculate the oil companies’ municipal property tax bill. For every billion dollars the pipeline is worth, the oil companies are taxed about $20 million by municipalities along the TAPS route. Last year, the Board determined the pipeline was worth $12 billion, while the North Slope oil producers argued for $2 billion.

Parnell removed McGee from the board this year, because he believed the board was overvaluing the pipeline under McGee’s tenure. Bernie Washington, who serves as Alaska Public Media’s chief financial officer and previously worked for ConocoPhillips, was one of Parnell’s picks to fill the vacancy.

McGee also spent 17 years as the property tax assessor for the Municipality of Anchorage. He resigned from the position in protest last year amidst disagreement with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, after the Municipality returned $1 million it collected in property taxes to Enstar.

Parnell is running for reelection, and Sullivan is running for lieutenant governor.

McGee says if all three of them were to end up in Juneau next year, relations probably wouldn’t be friendly.

“Probably not — I don’t regard them as allies,” says McGee.

McGee says his removal from the State Assessment Review Board played into his decision to run, but it wasn’t the only factor. McGee says he cares about labor issues, and he also opposes Parnell’s new law capping the oil production tax rate at 35 percent. He supports the citizen’s referendum to repeal it.

“I think that the state government should be working to support local governments, not as an adversary with local governments. Which is what I think I’m seeing going on currently,” says McGee.

McGee is the only Democrat to register for the open Sand Lake House seat. Liz Vazquez, David Nees, and Sherri Jackson have all filed letters of intent for the Republican primary.

Sand Lake is currently represented by Republican Mia Costello, who is vacating the seat to run for the State Senate.