The battle lines are set in a potential Senate showdown over oil taxes. On Tuesday, lawmakers hashed out what version of Governor Sean Parnell's oil tax plan they will vote on.
Last week, the Senate Finance made a few changes to the bill, including a competitive review board proposed by Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, to assess Alaska's tax structure.
"My hope is that the group isn't simply going to focus on taxes, but rather look at things like access to infrastructure, how to get into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,” said Sen. McGuire, R-Anchorage.
Sen. McGuire said senators are also leaning towards a 35 percent base tax rate on oil instead of a 33 percent rate that the Finance Committee endorsed last week.
The Democratic Minority says it will introduce a substantial amount of amendments Wednesday geared at making the bill less of what they call a give-away.
"We have a positive proposal that keeps the basic architecture of Alaska's Clear and Equitable share, and makes an adjustment in progressivity, that's essentially the windfall profits tax,” said Minority Leader Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage.
It will take at minimum of 11 senators to vote yea or nay on the bill. Speculation has swirled around the Juneau about who will be that 11th vote if it comes down to such a close margin.
Sen McGuire adds, "I believe that we will win, my side, on the subject of rolling back a system called ACES that has been unfruitful for Alaskans over these past five years.”
"The Democrats plan to channel Jay Hammond, and Wally Hickel, and Bill Egan, two Republicans and one Democrat, great statesmen, who were leaders in our state who would have never, ever signed into a bad business deal like the one this governor and this majority is proposing,” said Sen. Ellis.
Senators Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna and Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage asked the senate to recuse themselves from Tuesday's proceedings, but fellow members objected.
The industry watchdog group "Backbone" asked both senators to not vote on the bill because of their ties to ConocoPhillips.Contact Adam Pinsker