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Senators who didn't support oil-tax cut slapped with F's by business groups

Alex DeMarban

Key Alaska business groups gave the Senate Bipartisan Majority a big, fat "F" in its annual report card that aims to show who's bad for business in Alaska. But at least one lawmaker was quick to say the grades come down to one issue: Gov. Sean Parnell's failed proposal to cut oil taxes, according to KTVA.

The Senate Bipartisan Majority flunked after its leaders opposed the cut and asked hard questions about its impact. Getting an "A" was the Republican-led House Majority, which last year passed an oil tax cut of up to $2 billion annually before the measure died in the Senate.

Groups behind the Alaska Business Report Card include the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Resource Development Council. Look at who's giving them money, said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage:

"The top three donors, the top three contributors to the chamber and the RDC are BP, Conoco and Exxon. This all about oil taxes, plain and simple," Wielechowski said in the KTVA report.

Wielochowski flunked.

So did Sen. Gary Stevens of Kodiak -- for at least the second time. In December, Stevens delivered a searing speech to some members of the business community.    

"Frankly, you’ve got a lot of nerve. I stand before you as the recipient of an “F” from the Alaska Chamber of Commerce and the Resource Development Council. Legislators were given grades by these organizations -- apparently based on our support or lack of it for the governor’s oil tax bill, HB 110.  So, the biggest issue facing the Legislature this year is state oil taxes. Big surprise, right?  This has been the biggest issue for many years running.

“All Representatives who got A’s voted for the governor's oil tax bill, while those of us who got D’s and F’s either voted against it in the House or, like myself, dared to question it in the Senate."