Alaska House votes to undo Palin-era oil profits tax

JUNEAU — The Alaska House of Representatives voted Thursday night for a massive rollback of the oil profits tax that the lawmakers put in place four years ago.

The vote, after about three hours of debate wound down after 8:30 p.m., was 22 to 16.

Neal Foster of Nome was the only Democrat to vote in favor. Alan Austerman of Kodiak and Paul Seaton of Kodiak were the only Republicans to vote against. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, and Mark Neuman, R-Wasilla, were excused.

The House vote was an attempt to torpedo one of the biggest legacies of Gov. Sarah Palin's time as governor. Gov. Sean Parnell supported the oil tax when he was her lieutenant governor but is now leading the effort to weaken it, saying he's since become convinced that it hurts oil company investment.

"It requires us to believe, it requires a partnership with industry, it creates a balance in Alaska's oil tax," said Eagle River Republican Rep. Anna Fairclough.

A companion oil-tax bill is still in committee in the Senate. Senate leaders have said they aren't interested in passing it before the Legislature adjourns for the year on April 17. Bills have a two-year lifespan and Parnell could always try again with the Senate next year if he can't get senators to flip now.

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