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Alaska officials aim to get oil tax legislation passed this spring

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 4:38 pm

FAIRBANKS - Alaska Department of Revenue Commissioner Bryan Butcher said the governor plans to have oil tax legislation ready for the start of the legislative session and passed by the time lawmakers gavel out in April.

In a speech to the Alaska Support Industry Alliance chapter meeting in Fairbanks on Tuesday, Butcher said a new slate of elected officials in Juneau will make passing oil tax changes easier.

Butcher stayed away from specifics of what Gov. Sean Parnell’s tax plan, but said the administration is open to discussing a slew of options to boost oil production with a Legislature where both bodies are now solidly in the hands of Republicans for the first time in years.

“There’s all kinds of levers and we were ready to discuss all of the levers to work through what was best for everybody for what the consensus would be but we never had that opportunity,” he said. “When I look at the next two years, I look at a Legislature that we would be able to present the plan and hear from the parties affected by it both positively and negatively and work through what makes the best sense for the state.”

The now-defunct Senate Bipartisan Working Group took flak from Butcher for failing to pass oil tax legislation. A special session ended abruptly when Parnell yanked his oil tax legislation after it ran up against skepticism from Republican and Democratic senators.

The new Republican-led Senate has made it a priority to address oil taxes and has even formed a committee specially designated to address with throughput decline.

“I’m so excited about the new Legislature,” Butcher said. “I don't think anybody expects a rubber stamp. I think everybody is interested in what makes the most sense. Great, we couldn't ask for any more than that.”

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 or follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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