Senate confirms vote on reduction of oil tax

Richard Mauer

JUNEAU -- The Senate completed passage of the governor's oil-tax revamp Thursday, confirming its original 11-9 vote on reconsideration.

After all the drama Wednesday -- a session that spanned nine hours and featured long debates on amendments and then on Senate Bill 21 itself -- only one senator asked for debate time Wednesday.

"I read that I spoke for about 40 minutes last night," said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, an opponent of the bill. "I won't put you through that again today, but this bill pushes about $2,000 a minute across to the oil industry, every minute of the day for the next six years, so I figured I saved the state about $80,000 yesterday."

But the debate also continued informally. As the Senate session opened, Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage and a leading supporter of the measure, introduced her 7-year-old son Grayson, who was working as an honorary page.

"As you know, we passed a very historic bill last night," McGuire said. "We have reconsideration today. I told him his future was on the line, so he's on the floor with us today."

After the session, an opponent of the measure, Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, joined his family in the hall.

"Her future is not too bright after what we did last night," he said as he pushed his baby daughter in her stroller into the second floor elevator.

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