Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
December 22, 2017
In this issue:
• Looking Ahead to the New Year
• Pre-Session Constituent Meeting
• Community Events

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy Holidays! May celebration of the holidays and the coming New Year bring you and your loved ones joy and good health.

Looking Ahead to the New Year

Governor’s Budget

Governor Walker released his FY19 budget proposal that includes operating and capital budgets focused on additional public safety funding, maintaining the current student base allocation, and funding for deferred maintenance; the Alaska Economic Recovery Plan with a modified 1.5 percent payroll tax; and budget reform proposals.  If you missed the Governor’s press conference announcing the budget proposal, you can watch it here.

The Governor proposes a $4.7 billion budget with $2 billion in expected revenues, which still leaves a $2.7 billion budget deficit. The FY19 budget proposal relies on withdrawing $1.9 billion from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve—a source that we have not used to fund government operations in the past.

Operating Budget

The FY19 proposed operating budget totals $4.7 billion compared to $4.8 billion in FY18 and $6.3 billion in FY15—a 26% reduction from FY15. When comparing only the unrestricted general fund reported total, the proposed FY19 budget is $4.2 billion compared to $4.3 billion in FY18.

The FY19 budget has 217 fewer budgeted positions than the FY18 budget passed by the legislature. Additionally, the FY19 budget has 2,127 fewer positions than in FY15. Efficiency measures are expected to reduce another 200 positions over the next several years.

FY19 Operating Budget Highlights:

  • $34 million – Public Safety Action Plan (20 more positions)
    • $4.8 million for more troopers and prosecutors
    • $18 million for substance abuse treatment
    • $10.5 million to address the growing prison population
    • $500,000 for public defenders
  • $1.26 billion – Education (maintains current student base allocation)
  • $691 million – Medicaid (Up $27.2 million. Enrollment up 34 percent since FY 2015)
  • $245.5 million – Payment for unfunded retirement liabilities (up $82 million)
  • $818.8 million – Permanent fund dividend ($1,216 per person)

Capital Budget

The FY19 proposed capital budget of $150 million in unrestricted general funds is used to match $1.13 billion in other grants and federal dollars for transportation, rural and municipal water and sewer programs, housing, and required technology upgrades. With the federal funding, the total capital budget is $1.28 billion ($150 million less than current year.) 

Alaska Economic Recovery Plan 

Governor Walker is proposing three bills:

    • Limited Payroll Tax: 1.5% of wages or 1.5% of net earnings from self-employment.  PFD, investments and some other income would be exempt. The Governor projects $320 million revenue annually, with nonresidents paying 15% of the total. If passed, the tax would start Jan. 1, 2019, so projected revenue would be half, or $160 million, in FY19. Under the Governor’s proposal, the payroll tax sunsets in fiscal year 2021. 
    • Economic Recovery Act: The proposal funds a three-phase capital package using $800 million of the estimated total proceeds from three fiscal years the 1.5 percent payroll tax to pay for deferred maintenance projects around the state. 
    • Oil and Gas Tax Credits:  The state would buy back oil company tax credits, financing this purchase through discounted state bonds.

Budget Reform

Governor Walker is proposing legislation to restructure the state’s budget process from annual to biennial. The proposal requires the Legislature to pass a budget by the 90-day deadline set by Alaskans in 2006. If the legislature fails to pass a budget on schedule, beginning on day 91 of the legislative session, legislators would forfeit per diem and have salary withheld until they pass a budget. Likewise, if the Governor failed to publish a budget by December 15, the Governor would receive no salary for each overdue day.

The Simple Solution for the Legislature to Finish on Schedule

Both the Governor and a citizens group—through a proposed ballot initiative—have proposed legislation to stop per diem payments when the legislature doesn’t finish its work on schedule. In my view, these kinds of proposals are complicated and will encourage the legislature to look for loopholes. The simple solution is to let voters decide whether to shorten the legislative session in the Alaska Constitution to 90 days. That’s why I introduced HJR 3, which will let voters decide how long we should stay in session.

Responsible Action Plan

Now more than ever, the legislature needs to approve a responsible action plan for Alaska. In the private sector, continuing to cut the budget without a long-term fiscal plan that addressed both growing revenue and reducing costs at the same time would unacceptable to both business owners and investors.

Last session, the Alaska House Majority Coalition passed all four pillars of a responsible action plan in the first 90 days: (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.

Since then, the Alaska House Majority Coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents has remained committed to comprehensively addressing our financial challenges. Alaskans deserve economic certainty and a sustainable path for the future. As we prepare for the 2018 regular legislative session, I remain committed to a responsible action plan that puts Alaska first!

Pre-Session Constituent Meeting

Save the date for our upcoming event: Wednesday, January 10th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Spenard Rec Center

With the New Year comes a new legislative session. In January, my office is hosting a constituent meeting to gather input from West Anchorage residents before we reconvene in Juneau.

Pre-Session Constituent Meeting

This meeting is an opportunity for me to touch base with friends and neighbors and we hope you’ll join us! Food and drinks will also be served!

Visit our Facebook event page to RSVP. 

Community Events

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

Zoo Lights

The Alaska Zoo invites you to visit their lighted parade of animal-themed displays nightly, seven days a week from now until January 7th (closed Christmas Day). For prices and more information, click here.

‘Tis the Season

Midnight Sun Productions is presenting Tis the Season, a free evening of stories, carols and hot chocolate. The evening will be a mixture of theatre, visual art and holiday music, complete with hot cider and warm blankets. Come sing carols and enjoy the telling of Christmas classics combined with imagery from local artists.

When: Friday, December 22nd from 7:00 – 8:30pm
Where: Anchorage Community Theatre, 1133 E. 70th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99508

Santa 2.5K Run

Run for a cause this weekend. Dress up as Santa and run one lap around Goose Lake. Proceeds from the race will go to Habitat for Humanity. The race starts and finishes at the Social Sciences Building at UAA. There is a $25 online registration and a Santa medal for all finishers. Parking on campus is free on the weekends.

Santa 2.5K Run

When: Saturday, December 23rd from 10:15am – 12:15pm (Start time is at 10:30am)
Where: UAA Social Sciences Building West Entrance, 3190 Alumni Drive, Anchorage AK 99508

8th Annual Charlie Brown Annual Christmas Party 

Grab your skates and join friends and family for the 8th annual Christmas skate at Westchester Lagoon. There will be burn barrels and music from DJ Brandon Babb. This family-friendly event promises to be fun for the whole gang.

8th Annual Charlie Brown Annual Christmas Party 

When: Sunday, December 31st from 12:00 – 3:00pm
Where: Westchester Lagoon

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

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 Info (907) 269-5111

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

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