|February 17, 2017
|In this issue:
• HB 111: Oil & Gas Tax Bill
• In the News
• Constituent Meeting
• Constituent Survey
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The sun is returning in Juneau and we’re hearing bills and preparing the budget. Next week, we wrap up finance subcommittees and make budget recommendations. I’m conscious of the impacts of continued cuts, and continuing to investigate new revenue options.
HB 111: Oil & Gas Tax Bill
Late last Wednesday evening (Feb. 8), the House Resources Committee introduced House Bill 111 to change the state’s petroleum production tax. In an interview Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair of the House Resources Committee, highlighted how the bill helps close the fiscal gap:
* Increases oil companies' minimum tax rate from 4 percent to 5 percent and bars them from using credits to drop their taxes below that base.
* Reduces the value of a credit that allows companies to convert their operating losses into tax deductions — moving the rate of deductions to 15 percent from 35 percent. It would only allow companies to receive the credit as direct cash from the state if they're a small producer with a daily volume of less than 15,000 barrels.
* Caps companies' annual cash subsidy payments at $35 million, down from the $70 million limit approved last year.
* Reduces another tax credit to oil companies for each barrel of oil when prices are between $80 and $100 a barrel.”
Read the full story here.
There is currently no estimate of how much each measure will effect Alaska’s budget. House Bill 111 has been referred to the House Finance Committee.
In the News
During the finance subcommittee for the Department of Law, we learned that prosecution of misdemeanor cases has dropped by 33% since 2013. Due to budget cuts, the department doesn’t have the resources to prosecute all cases. 76 positions have been cut from the department in the last four years, and almost 7,000 misdemeanor cases are not prosecuted. To improve public safety, we need to consider increasing the number of cases prosecuted by hiring more prosecutors.
At the same time that the Department of Law’s budget was reduced 26%, the Office of Victims’ Rights’ budget was not reduced. Their annual budget of $971,000 includes seven positions—an investigator, a legal secretary, an administrative assistant, and four attorneys. To add more prosecutors and protect victims, we’re considering a reduction to the Office of Victim’s Rights and using that money to hire more prosecutors. You can read the full ADN article here.
Saturday, February 25th, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Anchorage Caucus will meet at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 1500 W Benson Blvd. The meeting will be an “open house” format. Attendees can talk one-on-one with legislators and share feedback on policy options. We look forward to seeing you there!
Mid-session Constituent Meeting: Alaska’s Fiscal Challenges
Saturday, February 25th, from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
After Anchorage Caucus, we will be holding a constituent meeting at West High School, Room C252. Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director Ken Alper will make a presentation about Alaska’s financial challenges.
Visit our Facebook event page here.
Rep. Claman talks with neighbors last year at our Constituent Town Hall
Meeting with Commissioner Hoffbeck.
Please Respond to the Constituent Survey
If you haven’t already, please take a moment to share your thoughts and suggestions in our constituent survey.The survey form will close on February 28th. Complete the electronic survey here.
As always, please let us know if you have any question or concerns.
Rep. Matt Claman
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