By Courtney Coren
Alaska Democrats are campaigning to have former Gov. Sarah Palin's tax policy reinstated after Palin's successor, Gov. Sean Parnell, had it repealed this year, saying that it discouraged exploration.
But Democrats liked the way it was in the Palin years and were able to gather enough signatures to make it a ballot measure for 2014, asking that Alaska voters repeal the new plan and keep Palin's, The New York Times reported.
"She was a transformational figure in Alaska politics," said Democratic State Senator Bill Wielechowski, a leader of the repeal effort. Tax policy had not caught up to the profits being made in oil in The Last Frontier. "People realized that for decades Alaska had not gotten a fair share."
Palin ran for governor as a reform candidate in 2005 after it was learned that the oil companies in the state were buying off state legislators in exchange for votes.
However, Andrew Halcro, president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, argues that while Palin's tax policies were popular at the time, they may have gone too far and have resulted in discouraging oil companies from drilling.
"People were angry at the oil industry, angry at the Republican Party, angry at the lawmakers who got caught in the scandal, and she channeled that," Halcro said. "And so when she raised taxes, people were like, 'All right, you go get 'em.' But then the reality sunk in."
While Alaskan Democrats prefer Palin's tax policy, they are hesitant to solicit her support in repealing the new law because she has become a polarizing figure following her candidacy as vice president in 2008 and her resignation as governor.
"She did the right thing. She put in a tax that was tough on the big guys," said Jack Roderick, age 87, former Democratic major of Anchorage Borough and leader of the repeal effort. But with her divisive image, including her in the campaign would "probably not be helpful."
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