Fairbanks Senator Could Be Deciding Vote On Oil Tax Bill
“I’m going to vote for it,” he said. “It has to come back for concurrence, and I think the House has a lot of work they’ll do on it. I think sending as competitive a bill as we can over with as simplest a tax we can I’m going to support.”
The oil tax bill already has three meetings scheduled in the House Resources Committee pending referral.
Despite getting passed out of the Finance Committee, the bill wasn’t rushed to the floor Friday and, as of press time, hasn’t been scheduled for the Monday floor session.
Of the 20 member body, there are 13 Republicans and seven Democrats. Two Republicans, Sens. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, and Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, were staunch opponents to Gov. Sean Parnell’s last attempt to cut oil taxes as were the seven Democrats.
Most of the other 10 Republicans have been more vocal about supporting cutting taxes, though they, too, have expressed doubts during the process.
That puts Bishop in a position where he could be the 11th “yes” vote, and the bill would head to the Senate, or the 10th “no” vote in which case the bill would fail. A failure would be a black eye for the governor and Senate Republican leadership, which stepped into control this year.
Senate Democrats said they’re working on a salvo of amendments to put forward and said they’ll reach out for support from on-the-fence members of the Republican-led majority.
For his part, Bishop didn’t detail the types of changes he would like to see, but said he’ll be doing his best to make sure the oil tax bill the Senate passes is fair to Alaskans.
“I’m not going to give up on this bill,” he said. “But I’m not going to give away the farm, either.”