APRIL 6, 2017
Representing District 17:
Midtown, University, and East Anchorage
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1500 W. Benson Blvd #229
Anchorage, AK 99503
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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is an honor to be your voice in Juneau. I have many priorities, but keeping a dialogue open with my constituents is my top priority. Thank you everyone for subscribing to this newsletter, and thank you for your insightful calls and emails! Here is an update on what’s been happening in my office and in the legislature.
Senate Hearing for the families of fallen Peace Officers and Firefighters
Yesterday was an exciting day. HB 23 is my bill to ensure survivors of fallen peace officers and firefighters continue to receive medical insurance coverage. It made it through the House last month, and had its first hearing on the Senate side yesterday.
Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on HB 23 accompanied by my chief-of-staff Lisa Weissler.
I testified before the Senate Finance Committee as to why supporting our peace officers and firefighters is the right thing to do. I’m hoping that HB 23 continues to receive bipartisan support and makes it to the Senate Floor soon.
What’s New in the Capitol?
More than a decade ago, Alaskan voters decided to limit the legislative session to 90 days. It’s now day 80 of the legislative session and there’s still a lot of work to do!
We passed the Operating Budget out of the House last month, and it’s now with the Senate. They started hearing it on the Senate Floor Tuesday. Already, they’ve made quite a few changes. This means that after they pass their version, we’re going to need to meet in conference committee and try to reconcile it with the House version.
Both sides are also going to have reconcile how we intend to fund the budget. The House Resources Committee, which I co-chair, sponsored HB 111 that establishes an oil tax system more in line with oil tax systems around the world. The amount we paid out in tax credits and subsidies in 2016 is more than double the Department of Corrections and Alaska Court System allocations for last year. I think that’s a little steep, unsustainable, and amounts to corporate welfare.
Of course fixing oil tax credits is only one piece of the puzzle. Rep Gara has a bill, HB 36, before Labor and Commerce, which I sit on. HB 36 would tax large businesses making $200,000 annually or more in profits, and oil companies making $25,000. I’ve already had a constituent small business owner call in about it, so I’ve been studying it carefully.
Working with Rep. Westlake on the floor. This is how we solve our state’s problems, by working together!
Right now, the favored idea in the House is a statewide income tax, and the favored idea in the Senate is a state-wide sales tax. There’s also ideas to take money from Permanent Fund Earning’s Reserve. The Senate has a bill to reduce PFDs to $1000. To fund the state services we depend on for Public Safety, Education, and Senior Care, we are going to need to demonstrate leadership, look for middle ground, and find a solution that is right for Alaska’s future.
I look forward to receiving your thoughts on any of these issues, as it is you, my constituents, that guide every step I take toward a better Alaska.
Thank you and have a great week!
I Answer to You!
Representative Andy Josephson
1500 W. Benson Blvd., Suite 229