4th Special Session Adjourns, Time for a 5th
4th Special Session Adjourns
Representative Kawasaki and the rest of the Independent Democratic Coalition
On Saturday, June 18, the Alaska House of Representatives adjourned the 4th Special Session of the 29th Legislature, and the Senate did the same the following day. I am deeply disappointed majority leadership failed to progress towards a balanced, fair and comprehensive fiscal plan to address the $3-billion state budget deficit.
While my colleagues and I on the House Finance Committee passed modest mining, fisheries and motor fuel tax increases, the rest of the House and Senate refused to act on these revenue options. We also considered the Governor’s proposed income tax (which only about half of all Alaskan income-earners be liable to pay). The House also passed a better alternative to oil and gas tax subsidies that will cost us over $775-million next year alone.
If the only solution the Senate can support to fix a $3-billion budget hole is by cutting the permanent fund dividend, I can’t vote for it. A solution must be comprehensive, fair and balanced and include reducing the costly oil and gas tax credits that equal to the amount the Senate voted to cut your dividend: $700 million. We simply must do more for the people of Alaska than take their dividend dollars.
Meanwhile, we see construction bids go outside for work as we look at a future of smaller capital budgets and less hope for the state’s future of creating jobs. The longer we wait to come to agreement, the more it hurts families and the local economy. We must see beyond politics and find sound policy for the state’s future.
And so it goes… a 5th Special Session?
Rep. Kawasaki on the house floor in the Bill Ray Center
Because the House and Senate could not come to an agreement on a comprehensive fiscal plan, the Governor called yet another special session to convene on July 11 in Juneau. This time, the Governor put oil and gas tax credits back on the agenda, alongside industry, income and sales taxes, and a restructure of the Permanent Fund.
I am hopeful we can find middle ground on these important issues and find a solution to our fiscal crisis. Now is not the time for partisanship: it’s a time to lead. The solution cannot be based on cuts alone, including your PFD check. There has been a refusal to acknowledge deep cuts will not only impact our future, but could also cause a major recession.
Lawmakers should instead engage and ask the question: What is the vision for Alaska? I hope collectively we have a vision that achieves the impossible, grows our own future leaders and continues to draw talent to Alaska.
Taking this Time to Listen
I look forward to spending more time at home listening to neighbors, friends and families about their concerns and ideas as the 29th Legislature carries on. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime at my office at (907) 456-7423. You can also reach me by Facebook or email at Rep.Scott.Kawasaki@akleg.gov.
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks
P.S. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook Or Instagram.