Akiachak, Akiak, Aniak, Atmautluak, Bethel, Chefornak, Chuathbaluk, Crooked Creek, Eek, Platinum, Goodnews Bay, Kasigluk, Kipnuk, Kongiganak, Kwigillingok, Kwethluk, Marshall, Mekoryuk, Napakiak, Napaskiak, Newtok, Nunapitchak, Oscarville, Quinhagak, Russian Mission, Tuluksak, Tuntutuliak, Nightmute, Toksook Bay, Tununak, Lower Kalskag, Upper Kalskag
February 28, 2017
February is nearly over and the State House has closed out our finance subcommittees that were tasked with taking an in-depth look at every state program. The finance subcommittee process is new this year to help the legislature work through the operating budget in a more thorough and timely manner. Next the finance committee will consider the operating budget (HB 57) with the subcommittee recommendations before it goes to the house floor and then on to the State Senate.
Please take some time to weigh in on the budget as it proceeds, here are the upcoming public testimony opportunities:
House Finance schedule for the week
Note time changes and additional meetings
Thursday, March 2, 2017 1:00-6:00 PM
Friday, March 3, 2017 1:00-6:00 PM
Public Testimony Instructions
If you would like to provide public testimony, keep in mind the following:
Testify in person or on the phone: Limited to 2 minutes each. Arrive (or call in) early to expedite the sign in process, and be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the end of the allotted time period or testimony may close early. If you are a member of a group with the same message, in the interest of time, please select a spokesperson to testify for the entire group. If you are calling from a community without a legislative information office, i.e., an “Off Net” caller, only call during the designated Off Net time period on March 3rd and 4th; please call 1-800-478-4648 by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday to obtain the call-in phone number. All Off Net callers are required to hang up immediately after your testimony is taken to keep as many lines open as possible for other callers. Testifiers can continue to listen or watch the meeting online at www.akleg.gov, click on Alaska State Legislature and then choose the “Live Now” button. The hearing may also be televised on Gavel to Gavel, please check your local listings.
Email Testimony: If you live in a community with a legislative information office, but are unable to access it during the specified time period, you may send your written testimony to the House Finance Committee via firstname.lastname@example.org 5:00 p.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017.
HB 106 – Civil legal services fund. This bill will safeguard Alaskans’ access to the civil justice system by creating more stable and sustainable mechanism for funding the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, protecting those who cannot afford to hire an attorney of their own. It allows the Legislature to appropriate up to 25 percent of filing fees paid to the Alaska Court System during the previous fiscal year into the already existing Civil Legal Services Fund.
The Alaska Legal Services Corporation—established in 1967—is a nonprofit charitable 501(c)(3), whose funding comes from a variety of state, federal, and private sources.
Alaska Legal Services Corporation endeavors to serve a growing number of eligible applicants. Since 1984, the number of Alaskans who qualified for legal services has more than doubled, from 41,000 to over 100,000.
Yet currently, the state’s contribution to The Alaska Legal Services Corporation is only a fraction of what it was 30 years ago. House Bill 106 aims to stabilize The Alaska Legal Services Corporation funding and help ensure that civil legal aid is available to all Alaskans, not just the few who can afford it.
HB 115 – State Revenue Restructuring. This bill proposes a restructuring of Alaska’s revenue by implementing a state income tax, restructuring Permanent Fund draws, and adding a capital gains tax.
This bill would restructure the Permanent Fund by creating an annual draw of 4.75% of the market value of the entire fund (a POMV draw). One third of this draw will directly go to the dividend fund to pay our PFDs. The remaining two thirds will go to the state’s general fund to support state operations. The result will be a more sustainable dividend with payments expected to start around $1100 and grow over time.
The income tax implemented by this bill would tax both residents and non-residents that work in the state at a rate of 15% of their federal income tax due or $25, whichever is greater. Additionally, capital gains will be taxed at a rate of 10% to address the disparity between federal tax rates on capital gains and other income sources.
Stay Connected During Session
Facebook – Visit and “like” my Facebook page where I post regular updates and news from the legislature.
Email – I am looking for your input as we move through the legislative session. Please send me an email anytime to share your thoughts on the challenges Alaskans are facing.
Don’t forget your PFD application
It’s that time of year again and the PFD application deadline is quickly approaching. If you haven’t applied yet be sure to visit the Permanent Fund Dividend Division and fill out your application now!
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
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