Senate Adjourns Special Session, Rejects Parnell Tax Proclamation
Governor "extremely disappointed"
JUNEAU - After moving forward on just one of the items on Governor Sean Parnell's special session proclamation, the senate adjourned Sine Die Thursday afternoon.
The decision came after Parnell pulled his controversial oil and gas tax bill from the session call Wednesday evening. A human trafficking bill had already been approved and sent to the governor's desk, and legislation promoting development of an in-state gasline remained mired in committee.
While a spokeswoman for Parnell said the governor was "extremely disappointed" in the senate's lack of progress on gasline legislation, Senate President Gary Stevens said the body grew frustrated by Parnell's lack of information and unwillingness to prioritize oil tax issues. Lawmakers wanted answers from the administration, he said, not sound bites from producers.
"We are apparently being blamed for asking tough questions, but that's our job, and his administration's job is to answer those tough questions," Stevens said. "There are billions and billions of dollars at stake here."
By removing oil taxes from the special session call, senators said Parnell had effectively nullified the entire thing, but house members begged to differ.
"You know, I feel that if the other body didn't think he should have taken the bill off the call, they had every right, in my mind, to continue to work on that bill," said Representative Mike Chenault.
State law requires the senate reconvene if the house does not also adjourn within three days. Representatives said they plan on caucusing Friday morning to explore their options.