Knowles claims strong opposition. At a resource industry forum in Anchorage, Knowles said he finds the Pebble project “terrifying.” Knowles said recently, “The scale of it is so enormous. On its merits, (Pebble) is an unacceptable risk.”
Palin is reserving judgment on Pebble, for now. On the Pebble project, Palin says she would not put one resource, such as the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, at risk “for another resource.”
In recent debates, Palin has rarely commented on individual mines, though she praised the Red Dog zinc mine near Kotzebue for bringing jobs to rural Alaska.
SUMMARY: TONY KNOWLES: Thinks the Pebble mine prospect is “terrifying.”
SARAH PALIN: Withholding judgment until she sees Pebble permit applications, but unwilling to risk the region’s fisheries.
Knowles said he would work with the Legislature to use a portion of the new cruise tax revenue to market the Alaska tourism. The candidate complains that the state’s funding for tourism marketing has plunged in the last decade. “When you compare that to other states, like Connecticut, Indiana or Tennessee, we’re out-marketed across the board,” Knowles said in a recent interview. Knowles said he supports doubling state funding for tourism marketing to $10 million.
Palin said the state should continue to match industry’s marketing funds, but a “huge overblown budget” isn’t necessary to entice more travelers to Alaska. “It doesn’t necessarily cost more money to market,” Palin said at the recent Wasilla gubernatorial debate. She advocated “better coordination” and “better ideas” as the way to improve tourism marketing.
Palin worried about the law’s new tax on gambling while ships are in state waters. “Currently casino gambling is prohibited in Alaska. So what are we getting ourselves into?“ Palin also asked.
Though she didn’t say how she would do it, Palin told the ATIA she would work with the tourism industry to ”mitigate some of the impacts“ from the new law. Knowles spokeswoman Patty Ginsburg said Friday that her boss supported taxing the cruise industry but he was unhappy with the law’s other provisions.
The state Departments of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Revenue are now writing the regulations to enforce the taxes, environmental permits and disclosure rules. The new taxes and rules go into effect Dec. 17.
Sarah Palin now says she doesn’t feel comfortable with some aspects of the new law. She recently told tourism industry officials that if elected, she would work with them to “mitigate some of the impacts” of the law.
The new taxes and fees will generate at least $50 million a year in additional state revenue, according to recent estimates from the Alaska Department of Revenue. For the first time, the state also will put observers on cruise ships visiting Alaska to monitor the ships’ smokestack and wastewater emissions. And cruise lines will need to begin disclosing their sales commissions with on-shore vendors.
Palin opposes a constitutional amendment, saying equality provisions should not be tampered with. She says the state should work toward another resolution that protects subsistence for those who need it most.
Knowles & Palin are in accord on one final item: No fish farms in Alaska waters.
All the candidates say the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is underfunded, lacking enough people and tools to study and protect the fish and their habitat.
All also promise to appoint people to the state Board of Fisheries and the North Pacific Council who will put the health of fish stocks first and won’t let politics interfere.
Knowles vows he won’t appoint “lightning rods,” but his commercial critics argue he did as governor, naming people with sportfishing or environmental bents such as Kenai River sportfishing kingpin Bob Penney.
“What I was trying to do was bring a real balance,” Knowles said. Indeed, the makeup of the board and council have at times tilted heavily toward commercial fishing interests.
The executive director of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association said his group believes Knowles mismanaged spawning runs, culminating years later in this season’s poor Inlet sockeye harvest. “The reason we went with Sarah was, she believes in managing these fisheries for the highest abundance on average that we can get,” the director said. That’s good, he said, for all kinds of fishermen including commercial gillnetters, sport anglers and dipnetters.
A handicap for Knowles is his eight-year record of engaging tough fish policy questions and crises, creating baggage that doesn’t burden Palin, said Terry Gardiner, speaker of the Alaska House in 1979-80. “It’s simple: He has a record. It’s a record versus no involvement,” he said, adding: “The way to be popular with fishermen is do nothing, because you don’t make enemies.”
A: Under this hypothetical scenario, it would not be up to the governor to unilaterally ban anything. It would be up to the people of Alaska to discuss and decide how we would like our society to reflect our values.
A: I oppose the use of public funds for elective abortions.
A: If the Legislature were to pass a bill that established a death penalty on adults who murder children, I would sign it.
A: My priorities are to support options for education as allowable within the current funding formula--including home schools, charter schools and vocational training. This doesn’t require amending the constitution.
A: Yes. If the state is going to offer incentives--and award them to a specific proposal--it is reasonable to expect a firm start date. Otherwise, other proposals need to be given the opportunity to begin construction.
A: I am opposed. This initiative is akin to taxing income before it is even earned. The way to get an agreement on building a pipeline is to negotiate . not litigate.
Q: Do you support the Petroleum Profits Tax passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Murkowski? If no, why not?
A: My preference was a tax on the gross price with a price-progressive index. We need to see how companies apply the tax credits within the law. If the credits are abused and Alaska is shortchanged, changes will be proposed. The intent of the credits is to encourage new exploration and infrastructure development.
A: We need to analyze the potential economic costs, needs and opportunities associated with climate change. Let’s be cautious in how we react--to make sure we don’t overreact. The Alaska Climate Impact Assessment Commission is supposed to assess the situation and issue a report on March 1, 2007. This is a good start.
A: Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.
A: I have reached out to all these communities and asked them to identify their needs. Their response has been for more vocational training, senior assistance, ending gang violence, and more state outreach and communication with their communities. One of the key components of my internal campaign is a diversity task force. I turn to them often.
A: Unlike my opponents’ efforts in the past, I will not propose to take the people’s dividends or impose an income tax. Given our current revenue projections, I will focus my administration toward developing our natural resources and establishing an agreement to build a gas pipeline.
Q: Should the state consider using more Permanent Fund earnings to run government?
A: I don’t support state income taxes. There are circumstances where I could support a sales tax if applied seasonally.
Q: Are there sectors of the Alaska economy that are under taxed or overtaxed? Which ones?
A: As a fiscal conservative, I’m not enamored with additional taxes on anything. I believe it’s the governor’s job to make sure the state gets a fair return on the development of our natural resources.
A: I support President Bush’s efforts to stop terrorism by taking the fight to the terrorists. In the Iraq war, I would like to see the president develop an exit strategy to get our troops home
A: We see an adequate level of funding for faith-based initiatives today.
Q: What, specifically, would you do to help make rural Alaska sustain itself economically?
A: I support a municipal revenue sharing so local areas can prioritize their own needs. The state needs to establish a rural energy plan. Commercial fishing is a mainstay for many villages, and I oppose actions that cut off Alaskans from our fisheries.
The above quotations are from Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile series, Oct. 29-31, 2006.
Click here for other excerpts from Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile series, Oct. 29-31, 2006.
Click here for other excerpts by Sarah Palin.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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