Kodiak Harbor

Representative Louise Stutes-House District 32-Proudly Serving Kodiak, Cordova, and Yakutat.

 

Representative Stutes 
Representative Stutes

I want your voice heard

Please share your opinions, concerns, or suggestions with me. Together we can make government work for you.

Click here to write me an email

Call me:

(907) 465-2487
Toll-FreeĀ (800) 865-2487

Please visit me:

May-DecemberĀ 
305 Center Avenue Ste. 1
Kodiak, AK 99615

January-April
State Capitol Room 406
Juneau, AK 99801

Visit me on Facebook

Contact Other Elected Officials:

Governor Walker,
Anchorage Office:
907-269-7450
EMAIL: Gov. Walker
www.alaska.gov

Senator Lisa Murkowski,
Anchorage Office:
907-271-3735,
EMAIL: Sen. Murkowski

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

Congressman Don Young,
Anchorage Office:
907-271-5978
EMAIL: Rep. Young

   

MARCH 13, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Things are moving fast in Juneau and addressing Alaska’s fiscal gap is our top priority. As session moves on, please continue to keep in touch on matters important to you and your family. I’m here for you and I will listen.

I was very honored to help present the awards at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition
I was very honored to help present the awards at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition. The candied salmon ice cream was a real treat!

Budget Snapshot:

The Alaska House Majority Coalition is promoting a comprehensive and balanced approach to closing the fiscal gap and achieving a sustainable budget that is fair for all Alaskans.

The Operating Budget has passed the House Finance Committee and is on the House Floor this week for debate and amendments. You can watch the debate here:

http://www.360north.org/

Here is a look at where the budget is now compared to last year:

Cuts this year (in thousands):

 

FY17 Management Plan^

Operating Budget passed by Finance 3/10/17

Cuts

All Agency Operations UGF

3,878,283.2

3,763,969.8

114,313.40*

All Agency Operations All GF

4,695,345.4

4,633,695.6

61,649.80

Agency + Statewide All GF

5,215,696.2

5,134,007.1

81,689.10**

The FY17 management plan is the budget that we are operating on today and is the latest figure for the “size of government.”

The UGF cuts appear larger, in part, due to a $72 million reduction in the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, swapping UGF to DGF. This is not a reduction in the “size of government” and should not be viewed as such.

Additional reductions are primarily a result of a $37 million reduction to the Oil and Gas Tax Credit Fund.

Budget Takeaways:

  • This year’s budget as it stands is a $61 million cut to agency operations compared to current levels (all general funds).
    • Cuts from last year’s budget to every state agency except Education, Environmental Conservation, Public Safety, and Military and Veterans Affairs.
  • Those cuts are to this year’s budget after Gov. Walker’s vetoes last year. They are even larger cuts when compared to the budget passed by the legislature and supported by the previous majority.
  • Especially harmful cuts to education and transportation were rolled back as they would have cost the state more than it saved in the long-term.
  • $3.5 billion in budget cuts since FY 2013.
  • More than $570 million cut from agency operating budgets since 2015 (UGF and DGF).
  • We can’t fix our remaining $2.7 billion deficit with cuts alone.
  • Excessive cuts will send Alaska into a deeper recession.

The budget is responsible and reflects the priorities of Alaskans:

  • Budget is fully-funded at this point in the process.
  • Pre-funds public education with $1.7 billion.
  • Proposed budget funds PFD’s at $1,150
  • Restores $49 million for school bond debt reimbursement based on feedback from constituents.
  • Fully funds pupil transportation by restoring $6 million in cuts proposed by Gov. Walker.
  • Adds $1.2 million for Pre-K (State investments in Pre-K have been shown to have a 16:1 return in long-term savings).
  • $120 million to inflation proof the Permanent Fund (No inflation proofing the past 2 years).
  • Cuts $37 million in oil and gas tax credit payments.
  • Adds $2.1 million to the budget for the Alaska Marine Highway System (which has been cut 13% in last 2 years).
  • Ensures we won’t close the Nome Youth Facility if doing so will cost the state more than it saves.

Fishing News:

Fishermen’s News Online published an interesting article covering some of our work in the Fisheries and House Transportation Committee:

I had a chance to chat with Senator Lisa Murkowski in Juneau
I had a chance to chat with Senator Lisa Murkowski in Juneau

Other Budget Bills:

  • HB 111, Oil & Gas Production Tax; Payments; Credits, is currently in the House Resources Committee but is expected to pass early this week. Our state’s oil and gas tax credit system is unsustainable and this bill gives Alaskans more of their fair share of oil revenues.

This legislation would revamp our oil and gas tax regime and raise additional revenue for the state. The amount of expected revenue is currently uncertain, as a new version of the bill was just introduced. The original version was expected to have a $45 million impact in FY18 growing to $195 million by FY22.

There is a side-by-side comparison between the two versions of the bill: Side-by-side Comparison.

I will send out a notice when the bill reaches the House Finance Committee and public testimony is open.

  • HB 60, motor fuel tax, passed the House Transportation Committee on February 23rd. I was not thrilled about this bill, but I was able to pass an amendment allowing a 3 cent per gallon rebate for commercial fishermen.This includes small and large fishing vessels, tenders, and floating processors. Commercial fishing was the only sector afforded a rebate in the legislation. The language in the bill was also tightened to ensure that proceeds from taxes on marine fuel are used to support our ports and harbors, as well as the Alaska Marine Highway System

HB 60 is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Finance Committee. Your testimony can keep the commercial fishing rebate in the bill. Please have your voice heard and submit your written comments to housefinance@akleg.gov. I will send an update when oral public testimony is scheduled. In the meantime, please contact my office at (907) 465-3271 for any questions on this legislation.

Personal Legislation:

HCR8, Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, was originally scheduled for today; however, the meeting was cancelled due to the House Floor debate on the Operating Budget. The bill is now tentatively scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, March 21st, in the Fisheries Committee at 10 a.m. Testimony can be given in person at your LIO or call (907) 465-4648 prior to the meeting for a phone option.

This resolution urges the Alaska State Legislature to strongly support the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, formerly the Fishery Industrial Technology Center, as a statewide hub for research, training, and technical assistance efforts to support fisheries across the entire state and urges the University of Alaska to find a solution that keeps the center operating and stable.

HB 87, Conflict of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game, is currently in the House Resources Committee. It changes the way that the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game function.  Currently, Board members must divulge a familial or financial conflict of interest; at that point, they can no longer offer input as a member of the Board and cannot vote on the matter at hand.

This bill allows the conflicted member to offer input, while still not allowing them to vote. Allowing members with expertise in particular fields to deliberate will help the Board make better informed decisions and lead to stronger fisheries management statewide.

HB 88, Board of Fisheries Membership, is a bill I introduced that would change the composition of the Board of Fisheries from seven to nine members. 

The additional two members will benefit the Board by adding more diversity of interest, greater breadth of knowledge, and more points of view.

Remember to file your PFD application

The deadline to file for your PFD is March 31st and approaching fast. If you have not applied yet, be sure to visit the Permanent Fund Dividend Division and fill out your application now!

 

I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!

Warm regards,
[signed] Louise Stutes
Louise

 
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