- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich says he won’t take a public position on the upcoming oil tax referendum.

Begich says thousands of Alaskans worked to get the referendum on the Aug. 19 ballot. While he has a personal opinion, he said he wants to respect the process of voter-initiated measures qualifying for the ballot.

In the referendum, voters will decide whether to keep the oil tax cut approved by lawmakers last year or to repeal it. Voting “yes” signifies support for the repeal.

Many state Democratic lawmakers support the repeal. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott also does.

Alaska’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, has said she will vote no.

Begich said whatever is decided, it’s important for the oil and gas industry to have consistent, long-term taxing policies.

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