Last week, Governor Walker welcomed us back to Juneau with the State of the State address. He emphasized the need to revitalize our economy by passing a responsible action plan that reduces Alaska’s budget deficit while maintaining core public services and improving public safety.
The second week of the 2018 Legislative Session has started and business is in full swing. This week I will hold House Finance Budget Subcommittee hearings for the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections and the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.
Juneau – Today, Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Craig Stowers gave the annual State of the Judiciary Address to the members of the Alaska House and Senate. In his speech, Chief Justice Stowers outlined, in great detail, how the Alaska Court system is working to streamline services and save money as Alaska is facing huge fiscal challenges. He also called on the members of the House and Senate to work together and make the hard decisions that are needed to allow Alaska to weather the current fiscal storm. Representative Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage), a member of the House Finance Committee’s Courts Budget Subcommittee, praised Justice Stowers’ speech as an example for lawmakers to emulate as they consider how to address the nearly $4 billion budget deficit.
Thank you for spending part of your evening with us. Together, we are standing up for Alaskans. We know how trying these times can be. To rush out the door, to get the kids to school, to work hard every day, and to live within your budget only to come home, turn on the evening news and hear the Governor talk of capping your Permanent Fund Dividend, imposing an income or a sales tax, and making dangerous cuts to eliminate Pre-K and early education.
JUNEAU – Senate Democratic Leader Hollis French (D-Anchorage) and House Democratic Leader Chris Tuck (D-Juneau) will give the Democratic caucuses’ response to the governor’s State of the State speech immediately following the conclusion of the governor’s speech on Wednesday night.
Last night the Governor released his latest oil tax rollback bill. It maintains the worst part of last year’s bill, and makes it even more draconian. The largest part of the bill massively rolls back state revenue, and oil company taxes, with no commitment that companies spend that “reward” in Alaska. We’ve tried that before. Until 2006 our Production Tax was nearly 0% on almost every field on the North Slope, and what did we get for lower taxes that didn’t require Alaska investment and more Alaska production work? We got oil production that was declining between 5 – 8% a year, and 40% less investment in the North Slope than we have today. And a fraction of the new companies are exploring for new oil on the North Slope today.
JUNEAU – In her response to the governor’s state of the state speech tonight, House Democratic Leader Beth Kerttula (Juneau) told Alaskans that Alaska must use today’s resources to build tomorrow’s future.
“You’ve elected us to lead, and it’s our job to lead in a way that honors Alaska’s courageous spirit by using today’s resources to build tomorrow’s opportunities,” said Rep. Kerttula.