Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
April 19, 2017
In this issue:
• Revised HB 115: The Education Funding Act
• Passed Legislation
• Saying Goodbye
• Community Events

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Easter Sunday was the 90th day of Legislative Session.  And on Saturday, the House passed the fourth and final piece of a responsible action plan for Alaska. As the Senate considers the legislation, the budget will remain our top priority and we’re committed to working together.

Revised House Bill 115: The Education Funding Act

Last week, we wrote about the four pillars of the House’s responsible action plan. We made responsible budget cuts in House Bill 57, we restructured the Permanent Fund in Senate Bill 26 while protecting a Dividend, and we updated the oil and tax credit system in House Bill 111. Over the Easter weekend, the Alaska House passed the fourth and final pillar of a responsible action plan. House Bill 115, the Education Funding Act, passed the House 22-17. HB 115 creates new state revenue via a modest progressive tax and directs the revenue into the public education fund. 

The Education Funding Act creates a bracketed tax based on federal adjusted gross income. It targets every person who earns income in Alaska so Alaskans and out-of-state residents who work in Alaska will contribute. The bill includes a $4,000 personal exemption that applies to every person in a household. Permanent Fund Dividends are also exempt from taxation and the bill includes a provision allowing use of the Permanent Fund Dividend to pay the school tax.  HB 115 will raise an estimated $687 million for the Public Education Fund once fully implemented, including $80 million from nonresidents who work in Alaska but don’t contribute to essential state services.

HB 115 is a direct response to the Senate’s proposed $69.3 million dollar cut to education. The Senate’s proposed cut amounts to a $265 loss per student.  Supporting public education is one my highest priorities—and the right to public education is protected under the Alaska Constitution.  Article VII, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution requires the Alaska Legislature to “establish and maintain a system of public schools” in Alaska.  Our children remain our best investment for the future.

In comparison, the School Tax bill that I introduced (House Bill 146), will raise an estimated $540 million. The major differences between the School Tax bill and the Education Funding Act are the floor and cap. The school tax bill starts with a $100 tax for all individuals whose adjusted gross income is less than $20,000, ensuring everyone contributes. At the upper end, HB 146 has a cap on the tax ($8,500 tax at $250,000 adjusted gross income) that would leave capital available to invest in the economy. The Education Funding Act, HB 115, does not require a contribution of people with an annual income of less than $10,300 and does not have a cap. The following are estimated examples of tax liabilities for various income levels under each bill:

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Estimated Tax Liability
Education Funding Act (HB 115) School Tax Bill (HB 146)
$20,000 $111 $100
$50,000 $993 $750
$100,000 $2,371 $2,500
$250,000 $10,933 $8,500

Now that the House has successfully passed all four pillars of a responsible action plan, the Senate will review the legislation and provide their perspective.

Passed Legislation

Since the beginning of the session, the two bodies of the legislature have produced 351 bills. 237 bills come from the House, while the Senate has introduced 115 bills. As of Day 90, the House passed 51 bills, but only 14 bills have passed both the House and Senate, nine of which are House bills.

In addition to working on a financial plan, my office has worked on the following bills that passed the House:

•   House Bill 77 – known as the Revisor’s Bill – corrects and removes deficiencies, conflicts or obsolete provisions in Alaska Statutes. The legislation passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.

•   House Bill 86 repeals Alaska statutes that allow the Commission on Post-Secondary Education to withhold renewal of your occupation license if you default on an Alaska student loan. The bill passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Labor & Commerce committee.

•   House Bill 104 eliminates the requirement to report civil case settlements. The Judiciary Committee bill follows the advice of the Alaska Judicial Council, which recommended that the legislature eliminate the requirement because it was outdated and unenforceable.  The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and is waiting for Governor Walker’s signature.

•   House Bill 108 updates Alaska’s probate and guardianship laws to allow fiduciaries the ability to manage digital assets the same way as other tangible property. The bill matches legislation proposed by the Uniform Law Commission in 41 other states. HB 108 passed both houses unanimously and is awaiting signature by Governor Walker.

Anchorage Constituent Hours 

When: Saturday, April 22nd, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Where: The Rustic Goat - 2800 Turnagain St, Anchorage, AK 99517

This weekend, I will be back in Anchorage and available to meet with constituents at the Rustic Goat at the corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Turnagain Street.

Please feel free to come by to check in and share your suggestions and comments.

Saying Goodbye

This week, we say goodbye to our wonderful staffer Owen Phillips. Owen has been accepted into one of the country’s leading Chemistry PhD programs at Georgetown University and he leaves us to pursue further studies. Owen has been responsible for several pieces of legislation this session and his hard work will be truly missed. We wish him the best of luck in Washington D.C.!

Owen Phillips laughs with Representative Claman and Representative Birch after presenting in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.
Owen Phillips laughs with Representative Claman and Representative Birch after
presenting in the House Labor and Commerce Committee.

Community Events

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

Alaska Historical Commission Meeting

When: Monday, April 24th from 9am to 11am.
Where: Spruce Room, BP Energy Center – 900 East Benson Blvd.

The Alaska Historical Meeting will hold an open meeting to discuss the Fourth Avenue Theatre’s future. The commission will be considering the theatre’s historical status and options for its preservation.  The meeting is open to the public and any person or group wishing to address the commission on this topic is invited to participate. The public comment session starts at 9:45am.

Chester Creek Flooding Project - Open House

When: Wednesday, April 26th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
Where: Multipurpose Room, Stellar Secondary School – 2508 Blueberry Road.

Come review alternatives proposed for the Chester Creek Flooding Draft Design Study Report that addresses flooding issues in the project area. The Municipality will be gathering public feedback on the proposed solutions.

As always, please let us know if you have any question or concerns.

Sincerely,

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

www.repmattclaman.com

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/

State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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