Rep. Andy Josephson
Serving Neighbors in Midtown, University, and East Anchorage

MAY 30, 2017

Representing District 17:
Midtown, University, and East Anchorage

I Answer to You!

Contact my office:
1500 W. Benson Blvd #229
Anchorage, AK 99503
(907) 269-0272
 
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Contact other elected officials

Governor Bill Walker
907-269-7450
EMAIL: Gov. Bill Walker

Senator Dan Sullivan,
907-271-5915
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan

Senator Lisa Murkowski
907-271-3735
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young
907-271-5978
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young

 

 

Special Session Update!

#HOUSEPLAN

Friends and Neighbors,

I have several pieces of news to report.

First, we are a week into special session and have been unsuccessful -- so far -- in reaching an agreement with the Senate regarding fiscal matters. A summary table of our proposed plans is shown below.

Second, there is still plenty of work to do with additional hearings, as well as some exciting bills that we will be working on in the upcoming interim. More information on these can be found below. 

Importantly, the Alaska House Majority Coalition has a plan (see table below) that preserves Alaska’s economy, schools, university, and families. The Senate’s scheme whacks schools, social services, older Alaskans, and our university and leaves a half-billion-dollar gap, and prays that oil prices recover quickly. 

 

House Plan
#AKHERE2STAY

Senate Plan
#DRAINNPRAY

Economy
Supports a diversified economy and sustainable revenue
Drains savings while praying for oil prices to rise
Education
Keeps qualified teachers in the classroom and educates our kids for the future
$90+ million of cuts to education, fires 700 qualified teachers and staff, ends all early learning, and devastates University of Alaska
Seniors, Elders and Veterans
Honors our seniors, elders, and veterans by keeping Pioneer Homes open
Betrays trust by closing Pioneer Homes putting seniors, elders, and veterans at risk
Jobs
Keeps more Alaskans working
Cuts result in more job layoffs, mostly in private sector
PFD & Permanent Fund
Guarantees at least $1250/person, Protects the fund for the future and protects the dividend
Limited to only $1000/person, Threatens the fund and strictly limits dividend
Oil Subsidies
Prioritizes Alaskans by standing up against corporate subsidies to oil and works to get Alaskans a fair share
Prioritizes oil companies with $1 million/day tax subsidy giveaway
Recession
Prevents deep recession and retains property values
Prolongs recession, costs more jobs, slows rate of recovery
Infrastructure
Capital plan for safe roads, bridges, and airports
Threatens public safety with deferred maintenance and little support for road maintenance, snow plowing, and safety improvements
Public Safety
Sustainably funds Troopers, VPSO’s, prosecutors, and programs designed to prevent crime
Funds Trooper positions through a one-time capital budget addition, reduces funding for VPSO’s, fails to address substance abuse and other known drivers of high crime rates
Fish and Game
Champions Alaskan way of life with funding for fish and game
Funding cuts undermine hunting and fishing opportunities

You can find this table online at: http://akhouse.org/houseplan/

Special Session Bills:

Combating Opioid Addiction (HB 159/SB 79)

Exciting News! On the fifth day of this special session (May 22), the House passed HB159, which limits adult opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply, allows licensing boards to impose educational requirements, requires pharmacists to log opioid prescriptions in a database, and allows patients to decline opioid medications.  The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear HB159 this afternoon at 3:30.

 

Operating & Mental Health Budgets (HB 57 & 59)

The Senate version axes K-12 education, our university and health and social services, while also whacking transportation—cuts that will harm our economy and prolong Alaska’s recession. The House will vigorously resist these draconian reductions, especially education cuts.

 

Capital Budget (SB 23)                                  

Aside from the Senate’s proposed $288M giveaway to oil companies -- they plan to drain our Statutory Budget Reserve to fill oil company coffers, while simultaneously cutting education funding by $69M -- our capital budget won’t generate a lot of strife, partly because we don’t have money to spend building and fixing things. Anchorage legislators are likely to focus on funding police and fire academies and/or the port. 

 

Motor Fuels Tax (HB 60/SB 25)

Alaskans have enjoyed the lowest fuel taxes in the nation, and we haven’t raised it since 1970. The debate will be not whether to raise it, but by how much, and whether to increase jet fuel taxes at rural airports.  

 

Oil Tax (HB 111)

We’re agreed on ending cashable credits, but the House also wants to simplify oil taxes, harden the minimum tax floor, increase interest on delinquent taxes, make credits apply only in the field where they’re earned, and derive a modicum of increased revenue.

I’ve been appointed to the Conference Committee for this bill, along with my colleague Rep. Geran Tarr. We are working hard to ensure a fair solution for all Alaskans. Once the Senate appoints their representatives, we will meet and try our hardest to come to a reasonable solution.

 

Permanent Fund Expenditures (SB 26)

Both the Senate and House budget propositions would draw $2.5B annually from the Earning Reserves Fund. The Senate would spend $1.8B of that on a budget capped at $4.1B; this would allow for $1,000 PFDs. The House would spend up to $1.69B annually on government and provide $1,250 PFDs. The House plan does not include a cap, which will allow for other revenue sources to fund things like education, rather than the Senate plan, whose cap would limit these services.

 

Broad-Based Tax

The Senate has vowed: No Income Tax.  But without an income, sales or school tax—or dangerously deep cuts—we can’t close our budget gap this year, which is what the House and governor are committed to doing.  

 

Upcoming:

Protecting Denali Wolves (HB 105)

On the last day of the regular session, the House passed my bill that would prohibit hunting or trapping wolves in the Stampede Trail and Nenana Canyon areas adjacent to Denali National Park and Preserve, enabling more park visitors to view wolves in the wild.  It will be very challenging to get this measure through the Senate in 2018, but I'll try hard to do that.

 After a Memorial Day service, I had the pleasure of meeting with our Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke; we were able to chat about my wolf bill and the protection of our federal public lands.
After a Memorial Day service, I had the pleasure of meeting with our Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke; we were able to chat about my wolf bill and the protection of our federal public lands.

 

Responding to Climate Change (HB 173)

Because Alaska is U.S. Ground Zero for climate change, my bill would establish a commission that would address its economic, social and environmental impacts here.  In 2018, we'll hear HB 173 in the House Resources Committee, and send it on to the Finance Committee. 

 

I will keep you updated as we make progress. As always, please call or email with any thoughts, ideas, or concerns.

I Answer to You!

Sincerely,

Andy Josephson[signed]

Representative Andy Josephson
1500 W. Benson Blvd., Suite 229
Phone: 907-269-0272
Rep.Andy.Josephson@akleg.gov

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