Special Session Update
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy Memorial Day weekend! I remember the brave Americans we honor with this holiday and hope you will too. Please look to the end of this enews for events this weekend.
I know it’s been reported in the news that the legislature isn’t working. That’s not true. Many members have returned home, but why you aren’t seeing me in Anchorage is I’m here working on oil and gas subsidy reform. Reforming our broken oil and gas tax system is one of the four pillars of the House Plan.
House Plan vs. Senate Plan: AKHere2Stay or DrainNPray?
Speaking of plans, recently we added a page to our website comparing the House Plan with the Senate Plan. Please take a look and see which one works best for you. We’re calling the Senate Plan the “DrainNPray” plan because it drains our savings accounts and relies on higher oil prices in the future to balance the budget, something we know we have no control over at all and what got us in this mess in the first place. We call the House Plan the “AKHere2Stay” plan because we love Alaska and want to fix the economy, give the stability businesses need for investment, stop the job losses, and start moving forward in the state we love. There’s also a link to print out the comparison and if you are talking with family, friends, or co-workers about what’s happening in the legislature this might be helpful.
Status of Oil and Gas Subsidy Bill
The oil and gas subsidy bill is House Bill 111, and right now there is a version that passed the Senate and a version that passed the House. I support the version that passed the House, but can’t support the version that passed the Senate because it’s worse than the status quo. The Senate version continues a system that is unsustainable and therefore bad for business. The Senate is saying they did away with cash credits, something we all agree on, but the problem is they replaced them with something that is worse! A majority of House members didn’t support the changes made by the Senate so we must meet in a Conference Committee to work out the differences.
I’ve been appointed to this Conference Committee because it is a House bill. Working closely with Rep. Andy Josephson, we will do our best to put in place a policy that gets Alaska our fair share and protects the state during the low prices like we’ve seen over the last couple of years. The Senate has not appointed their members so we couldn’t schedule a meeting this week, but we are working now so that as soon as they do we are ready to go!
Constituent Survey: Update Us on Your Views Today
In January, the Senate Republican Majority polled Alaskans on K12 education funding, broad-based taxes, and adjusting oil company tax credits. Those results showed Alaskans favor a comprehensive fiscal plan that includes reducing tax credits for the oil and gas industry, a broad-based tax, and continuing to fully fund K12 education. To date, they’ve ignored the guidance of the over 7,000 Alaskans that participated in the poll. For example, 54% support an income tax, but they didn’t even hold hearings before voting down House Bill 115.
This year, our House Majority Coalition passed a complete fiscal plan including strategic budget cuts, reforming our broken oil and gas tax system, a guaranteed PFD (higher than what the Senate proposed), a modest income tax, and full funding for K12 education.
Now, as the Special Session begins, we are curious to know where public opinion stands. Please take a minute to complete the survey.
Here are links to calculators to let you get a rough idea of possible impacts on your own household:
Memorial Day Events
Municipality of Anchorage Memorial Day Ceremony:
WHAT: Municipality of Anchorage, Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
Ft. Richardson National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony: Fort Richardson National Cemetery is hosting an annual Memorial Day service Monday, May 29.
WHAT: Ft. Richardson National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony