Rep. Claman Seeks a Simple Way to Pay for Public Education in Alaska
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2017
Juneau – Earlier today, Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) filed a bill that seeks to help fund public education in Alaska by reinstating a school tax on income earned in Alaska. Rep. Claman is hopeful that House Bill 146 will be part of a larger fiscal plan to protect the Alaska economy and the jobs of hard-working Alaskans.
“We all know that Alaska has major fiscal challenges. My goal is to put forward a responsible action plan to overcome these challenges and fill the nearly $3 billion budget gap while protecting the core services that Alaskans want and deserve,” said Rep. Claman. “Providing for public education is one of government’s essential duties and what I hear every day from my constituents is that they want a strong public school system. I believe it’s appropriate for this proposed school tax to be one of the options on the table for inclusion in the fiscal plan that we in the Alaska House Majority Coalition are committed to passing this session.”
Article VII, Section 1 of the Alaska Constitution requires the Alaska Legislature to “establish and maintain a system of public schools” in Alaska.
The school tax in HB 146 works by taxing adjusted gross income on federal tax returns. The minimum tax would be set at $100 a year with a graduated scale based on income. Those making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year would pay a school tax of $750. The money collected from the school tax would be designated to pay for public education in Alaska. The school tax could be deducted from federal income taxes and the bill includes a provision allowing future Permanent Fund Dividends to be held to pay for the school tax.
“For far too long, education funding has been a political football that gets tossed around without enough consideration for the negative impacts of dragging politics into our schools,” said Rep. Claman. “My bill seeks to stabilize education funding and connect every Alaskan to the need for great schools, dedicated teachers, and educational opportunities for every Alaskan child.”
Rep. Claman’s HB 146 was formally introduced today and was referred to the House Education and Finance Committees.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.