Oil tax cuts from Alaska Gov. Parnell stuck in state Senate

The Anchorage Daily NewsMarch 25, 2011 

Gov. Sean Parnell's attempt to slash Alaska oil taxes appears to be going nowhere in the state Senate with less than a month before lawmakers adjourn for the year.

"I don't see the votes in the resources committee to move the governor's bill out at this time," Senate President Gary Stevens, a Kodiak Republican, said Thursday.

Senate leaders have said since the start of the legislative session in January that they don't see enough justification for what could be a tax cut of $2 billion a year for North Slope oil producers. Parnell has made cutting the taxes a top priority this session, and oil companies and their supporters have been pushing lawmakers to back his plan.

The bill remains stuck in the Senate Resources Committee, much to the frustration of the governor. "We can't let legislators do nothing," Parnell said Thursday. "I'm asking the Senate to move the bill and get moving on creating more jobs."

Parnell's bill is moving in the Alaska House of Representatives. But it won't matter much if the bill passes the state House unless the Senate gets interested.

Senators said they don't want to cut oil taxes before receiving studies by consultants Woods Mackenzie and the Van Meurs Corp. on how Alaska's tax system compares with other oil producing regions worldwide.

Those studies won't be ready until after this year's legislative session. Senate Finance Committee co-chairman Bert Stedman said the Legislature paid $96,000 for the studies and it would be stupid not to wait for them.

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