|Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain|
|February 23, 2017
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This weekend, Anchorage legislators head back to Anchorage for Anchorage Caucus and constituent meetings. Meanwhile, in Juneau, creating a responsible action plan for Alaska remains our top priority. We hope to see you this weekend!
Anchorage Caucus will meet at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 1500 W Benson Blvd. The meeting will be an “open house” format so that you can talk one-on-one with legislators to ask questions and share your suggestions. We look forward to seeing you there!
Mid-session Constituent Meeting: Alaska’s Fiscal Challenges
After Anchorage Caucus, we will hold 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.
Alaska’s Financial Challenge
Establishing a responsible action plan for Alaska is our highest priority this session. We are carefully looking at the budget, reviewing different proposals to use a portion of Permanent Fund earnings to support state government, and considering options for new revenue. We would like to see several proposals “on the table,” and Alaskans agree that the Legislature and the Governor must carefully consider all options.
In last week’s newsletter, we focused on the proposed changes to oil & gas taxation, HB 111. This week, we’re reviewing the Governor’s proposal to increase Motor Fuel Taxes (HB 60/SB 25). As the session continues, we will be updating you on future proposals for establishing a responsible action plan for fixing our budget.
Motor Fuel Tax Increase
For many years, Alaska has collected sales taxes on motor fuel for vehicles, aircraft, and vessels. In December, Governor Walker proposed increasing these use taxes as a revenue generating measure in his proposed FY18 state budget. The measure includes a tax increase on gasoline, diesel, marine fuel, aviation gas, and jet fuel. Alaskans currently have the lowest gasoline tax in the nation. The fuel tax for vehicular fuel would increase from 8 cents per gallon to 24 cents over a two year period. The Governor states that “while the proposed tax increase may appear to represent a significant increase, the tax rates on motor fuel sold or transferred within the state have not been raised in many years; for example, the tax on highway fuel has remained at eight cents a gallon since 1970.” In July 2016, the US average for vehicular fuel tax was 26.6 cents per gallon. Marine fuel, aviation gas, and jet fuel would also triple from 5, 4.7 and 3.2 cents per gallon respectively to 15, 14.1, and 9.6 cents per gallon in 2018.
The proposed motor fuel tax increase would generate approximately $80 million in FY18. The funds would go into a transportation maintenance fund designated by fuel type. For example, gasoline funds would go towards road operations and maintenance, while aviation gas funds would go towards airport maintenance. The fund designation makes this a cost-payer approach, which means those who use the transportation infrastructure will pay a tax consistent with their level of use.
Making Tough Choices — Prosecutors and Public Safety
I recently proposed taking steps to improve public safety by finding a reasonable way to hire more prosecutors without increasing the overall state budget. The Alaska Dispatch News described the proposal.
Here’s more on the topic:
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
Click here to unsubscribe