KODIAK — A dozen Kodiak community and business leaders gathered Friday to “Rally for Reform” on oil taxes.

The rally, held on Near Island in the Koniag Building, was put together for Kodiak residents to talk about oil tax reform in Alaska, and why it is necessary.

Koniag partnered with the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce to host the event, and 16 local organizations sponsored it, including the Make Alaska Competitive Coalition and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.

Both organizations have promoted a plan advanced by Gov. Sean Parnell and have spoken out against a plan proposed by the Alaska Senate and backed by Sen. Gary Stevens, who represents Kodiak.

“The Kodiak chamber adopted a resolution to communicate to our legislators that we need to have enough tax reform to spur exploration and development to put oil in the front line, since oil in the pipeline is declining,” said Charlie Powers, Koniag vice president of corporate affairs. “It’s really the one thing the state can do to encourage private investment, and that work needs to be done.”

With all of the global investment dollars in oil exploration and development, there is a lot of opportunity for investment dollars to come to Alaska, rally participants said, and that is what community leaders hope comes out of the tax reform.

This was the second year for the event, but community members want it to be the last.

“Hopefully the tax reform will be this year so we can do what we need to do and focus on something else,” Powers said.

Due to bad weather, guest speaker Dave Cruz from Cruz Construction was unable to attend, and the event turned into an open forum.

Attendees discussed looking into other oil sources, pipeline life expectancy, and the importance of taking action. The group concluded that the longer oil tax reform is put on the back burner, the longer until changes are seen.

Kodiak Chamber of Commerce executive director Trevor Brown hopes attendees will communicate the importance of getting involved to other members of the community.

“The people that attended got ideas, the pros and cons, and personal opinions to take back with them,” Brown said.

Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at nklauss@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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