Alaska state lawmakers aren't buying oil tax reduction plan

JUNEAU — Senate leaders said Tuesday the governor has failed to sell his plan to cut oil taxes by billions of dollars, and they're not interested in taking the gamble that it's going to lead to more drilling.

"It does seem to me like the administration has not done a particularly good job of defending its bill. They have not explained the repercussions of the bill. They have not been able to delineate specifically the advantages that we get if we do away with those taxes," said Senate President Gary Stevens.

Stevens, a Republican from Kodiak, said Parnell's plan "all seems to be a hope, a wing, and prayer."

"The question has always been, show us. What is the proof, what do we get if we give away $2 billion a year. What does the state get out of it. And there have not been adequate answers," he said.

The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce will attempt to turn the tide with a rally today in Anchorage in support of Parnell's bill, with the governor as the featured speaker. The president of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, which does oilfield work, wrote a letter to all rural legislators and told them the state "is on the verge of taxing itself out of the oil and gas business."

The governor didn't agree to a request for an interview Tuesday but responded to Stevens' remarks in an email.

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