Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
October 2, 2017
In this issue:
• Governor Announces Revenue Proposal
• West Anchorage Public Safety Town Hall & Resource Fair
• Town Square Park Redesign
• Community Events

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, Governor Walker called the legislature back to Juneau for a fourth special session on October 23. As part of the announcement, the Governor proposed a capped payroll tax to help close Alaska’s budget deficit.

Fourth Special Session and Governor Walker’s Latest Revenue Proposal

On September 22, Governor Walker signed an executive proclamation calling the legislature into a fourth special session. The first item on the agenda is Senate Bill 54, which continues the criminal justice reform process that began in 2014. SB 54 addresses a variety of issues including bail conditions, sex trafficking, and parole and probation. The legislation is based on recommendations by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission.

The second item on the agenda is a bill to enact a flat wage tax. The Governor has proposed a payroll tax, also referred to as a “Capped Hybrid Head Tax,” that would tax wages and net self-employment income earned in Alaska by resident and nonresident individuals at a flat rate of 1.5 percent.  The tax is capped at $2,200 (adjusted for inflation) or two times the amount of the permanent fund dividend distributed in the previous calendar year. For example, a person who earned $50,000 would pay $750 in payroll tax and receive a PFD.

Because the tax would only to apply to income that meets the federal definition of wages, retirement income, such as Social Security benefits, would not be taxed. Some non-wage income, including capital gains, interest, dividends (including the PFD), S-corporation distributions, and any form of government subsidy, such as unemployment benefits, would not be taxed.

The following are estimated examples of tax liabilities for various income levels under the bill:

(Image Credit: Office of the Governor) 

Under the proposed revenue bill, employers would be required to pay withholdings to the Department of Revenue that approximate the amount of the tax. In hisTransmittal Letter, Governor Walker stated that “through regulation, the withholding would stop when the statutory cap is reached. This protects individuals working multiple jobs and insulates vulnerable populations, such as single parents, by limiting each Alaskan’s tax burden, and keeps us the lowest-taxed state in the nation.”

The tax would take effect in calendar year 2019 and is expected to generate between $300 million and $325 million by FY 2020—about 15 percent of which isexpected to come from non-resident workers, who earned more than $2.7 billion in 2015 according to the latest data available from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

In his press release, the Governor said “we have cut more than 44 percent from state spending over the past four years, and drawn more than $14 billion from savings. We will continue to find efficiencies. With the downturn in oil prices, however, it’s clear that we must find a new source of revenue to pay for troopers, teachers, transportation and other essential services. We must end the uncertainty for a healthy economy.”

At the beginning of the year, the Alaska House Majority Coalition identified four pillars of a responsible action plan for Alaska: (1) structured use of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve while protecting the Dividend, (2) reformation of the oil tax system, (3) new revenue from a broad-based tax, and (4) smart budget cuts. During the legislative session, the House passed all four pillars of a responsible action plan in the first 90 days. Since then, the Alaska House Majority Coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents has remained committed to comprehensively addressing our financial challenges. While the House Majority has repeatedly attempted to reach a compromise—offering a flat-tax proposal in the last days of the special session that brought in half of the revenue of the income tax approved by the House, the Senate has rejected a responsible action plan. 

New revenue is a critical part of closing Alaska’s deficit and growing a healthy economy. As we prepare for the fourth special session, I am committed to finishing the work necessary for a long-term solution.

West Anchorage Public Safety Town Hall & Resource Fair

Save the date for our upcoming event: Thursday, October 19th from 6:00 – 7:30pm at Kincaid Elementary School

The West Anchorage Public Safety Town Hall is an opportunity for West Anchorage community members to have a conversation with the Anchorage Police Department and local leaders about public safety. Friends and neighbors throughout West Anchorage want to understand the issues facing our community and learn how we can work together to improve safety in our neighborhoods. After the discussion, West Anchorage community members will be given the opportunity to visit public safety resource tables, ask questions, and learn more about organizations and resources available in our community. Food and drinks will also be served!

This event as a positive way to continue the conversation about public safety and we hope you’ll join us! Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Visit our Facebook event page to RSVP. 

West Anchorage Public Safety Town Hall & Resource Fair

Can’t make the meeting?

If for some reason you are unable to attend the town hall at Kincaid Elementary School, this event will be streamed via Facebook Live on Representative Claman’s Facebook page!

Town Square Park Redesign

Anchorage Parks and Recreation is updating the master plan for Town Square Park. The new master plan will provide a 20-year vision that seeks to address issues and concerns, prioritize improvements, and identify strategies to ensure that the park is a safe and thriving public space for all. Town Square Park was first developed in the 1980’s to provide an oasis from urban activities in Anchorage. In the following years, the park has undergone several changes and use of the park has evolved.  Recently, the inoperative water fountain in the center of Town Square Park was removed in an effort to improve visibility and public safety.

Planning and Public Involvement Timeline
Planning and Public Involvement Timeline

(Image Credit: Parks and Recreation Department) 

Using their Master Planning Process Summary as a guide, this spring, Parks and Recreation started hosting a series of public workshops to hear from members of the community about what they envision for Town Square Park. The Department also worked with citizen and technical advisory groups as well as several focus groups throughout the development of the master plan to ensure that the diverse perspectives and interests of the community are heard.

In city-hosted workshops and surveys since May, older residents wanted to keep the feeling of an oasis, while younger families and millennials wanted a more active space.Following public workshops and advisory group meetings, two design concepts were developed based on the common themes provided by stakeholders and members of the public during the planning process.

Concept design "A" features the addition of a large children's natural play area as well as a larger covered stage for performances. Concept design "B" is nearly similar to design "A". It includes a more traditional playground for kids, an accessible viewing area, and outdoor game tables. Both concepts will reduce the size of the berms around the park to help cut down on illegal activities.

Now, Anchorage community members have the opportunity to give feedback about the designs. Your feedback will be used to revise the concepts into a preferred alternative design. Visit this link to submit your comments: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/townsquareparkdesignconcept

Concept Design A

Concept Design A
(Image Credit: Parks and Recreation Department) 

Concept Design B

Concept Design B
(Image Credit: Parks and Recreation Department) 

For more information, visit the project website: www.muni.org/Departments/parks/Pages/TownsquareParkMasterPlan.aspx

Community Events

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

29th Annual Make it Alaskan Festival

29th Annual Make it Alaskan Festival

Community Councils

Sand Lake Community Council 
When: Monday, October 2nd at 6:30 pm 
Where: Sand Lake Elementary School, Library Room 
Facebook event page

Spenard Community Council 
When: Wednesday, October 4th at 7:00 pm 
Where: Spenard Recreation Center 
Facebook event page

Turnagain Community Council 
When: Thursday, October 5th at 7:00 pm 
Where: West/Romig Career Technology Center, Room 252
Facebook event page

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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