Opportunity to Testify on HB 115 and PFD Deadline
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and fellow Fairbanksans:
Things are starting to ramp up down here in Juneau as we are in the home stretch on day 71 of the session. I am hoping that we can finish in the designated session length of 90 days, however the last two years don’t give me a lot of confidence. The important thing is that we don’t leave until we pass some meaningful legislation towards solving our fiscal crises.
That being said there are some important bills moving along that should be discussed and one in particular is HB 115, which is having public testimony tomorrow, Wednesday, from 1-4:30 in the House Finance Committee. Please see below on how to testify.
HB 115 combines two concepts that both contribute to solving our fiscal crisis. The bill will restructure the PFD payout and also implement an income tax; individuals will be able to direct their own PFD check to be applied towards paying their income tax if so desired. The income tax raises about $700 million and the permanent fund restructure raises about $1.8 billion. Together, this raises $2.5B toward closing Alaska’s almost $3B fiscal gap. See summary of HB 115 below.
SB 26 recently passed the Senate and it also restructures the PFD and its payout formula. More on that bill coming soon.
Adam Wool Constituent Survey
Please consider taking this 19 question constituent survey. If you’d like to see the results, put your email address at the bottom of the survey. Please respond by April 7 and we’ll report the results soon after. http://akhouse.org/wool/survey/
It’s that time of year again! Remember to apply for your PFD before the March 31st deadline. If you haven’t done so, be sure to visit the Permanent Fund Dividend Division site and fill out your application today. And if you can, please Pick.Click.Give. to your favorite nonprofit!
How to Testify on HB 115
Wednesday, March 29th, the public can testify on HB 115 (the State Revenue Restructuring Act) from 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM in the House Finance Committee. (Note that depending on how many people testify, the hearing may end earlier than 4:30.) The teleconferencing system for committee meetings has a limited number of phone lines, and because of this, you are encouraged to testify from the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office (LIO) (in the Alaska USA building near Hope Depot) at 1292 Sadler Way, Suite 308. If it is not possible for you to testify at an LIO office, please call the Juneau LIO at 907.465.4648. They can assist you in connecting to the meeting and answer other questions you may have during this time. Written testimony may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary of HB 115, the State Revenue Restructuring Act
Rep. Paul Seaton’s HB 115 decreases the amount of Permanent Fund earnings that goes to paying our dividends and institutes a state income tax. One-third of earnings would go to dividends and two-thirds will go to the state’s general fund to support state operations. Combined this will put $2.5 billion towards our almost $3B gap. The 2018 and 2019 dividends will be at least $1250 and future dividends are expected to rise.
The latest version of HB 115 sets a progressive tax rate (ranging from 0 to 7%) based upon adjusted gross income (AGI), which includes exemptions for the PFD, a $4000 personal deduction, plus other standard deductions. Residents could apply their PFD to taxes due, receiving any overpayment as a refund. Here are some examples:
With so much going on, I’ll try to send more frequent updates.