NEWS: House Moves to Prevent Government Shutdown with Passage of Combined Operating and Capital Budgets

Juneau – Tonight, to avoid a government shutdown at the beginning of the month, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a combined Capital and Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The House budgets reverse the Senate’s $69 million cut to K-12 education and most of the cut to the University of Alaska. Additionally, the Capital Budget restored the full amount of expected Permanent Fund Dividends, which will be paid in the fall to eligible Alaskans.

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NEWS: Change the Name, Pay the Same: Senate Oil Bill Replaces $1.5 Billion in Cash Credits with $1.45 Billion in Lost Revenues

Rep. Les Gara

Juneau – Recent analysis from the Alaska Department of Revenue shows a stark contrast between the competing versions of legislation to reform Alaska’s unsustainable system of subsidizing the oil industry on the North Slope with unaffordable tax credits. The version of House Bill 111 supported by the Alaska Senate Majority follows the lead of the Alaska House Majority Coalition in ending the practice of paying oil companies cash for tax credits, but on paper only. This is expected to save the State of Alaska an estimated $1.5 billion over the next ten years. However, the Senate version of the bill would result in the loss of $1.45 billion in revenue over that same timeframe by replacing the cash for credit system with a higher percentage of “carry forward” deductions that oil companies could subtract from production and other taxes they pay to the State of Alaska.

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OPINION: Senate leaders put oil company profits first

Rep. Les Gara

Paying oil companies billions from our dwindling state savings, while cutting schools, help for seniors and those who battle disabilities, isn’t an Alaska I believe in. This is one of the little-reported and major sticking points between our Republican-led Senate and our bipartisan House majority coalition. The Senate budget cuts help for kids, students, seniors and disabled Alaskans, but deficit-spends handsomely on subsidies for our oil industry partners.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Juneau Update: What I’m Fighting For

Rep. Gara Newsletter

As one of 60 legislators, I think we could have finished our work within the 90-day limit. But like negotiating for a car, you can’t just make your offer. You have to get the car salesperson to make a reasonable offer back. That hasn’t happened. The offer so far from our Senate colleagues is:

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