FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2013
Rep. Josephson Proposes Bills to Share More Oil Wealth with Local Communities
Bill would lower property taxes and bring the benefits of our oil wealth home to communities
JUNEAU – Today, Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) introduced legislation to increase the amount of Alaska’s oil revenues the state shares with local communities to reduce property taxes and fund necessary community services.
“Developing our resources is only half of what it means to be a resource state. Bringing the benefits of that wealth home to Alaskans will define our success,” said Rep. Josephson. “To build the strong future and the way-of-life Alaskans deserve, the most important work is often done by local communities, not state government.”
Currently, the amount the state can share with local governments, known as community revenue sharing, is capped at $60 million each year. The first bill (HB 117) increases the amount of revenue sharing from $60 million to $90 million when oil prices are high, as they are today. When oil prices fall and the state has less to give, the program automatically reduces the amount of money distributed. The second bill in the package (HB 118) appropriates an additional $90 million to the Community Revenue Sharing Fund to create a sufficient starting balance in the fund to allow the annual $90 million distributions to communities.
“Alaskans know best what their communities need, and getting more of our resource wealth to the local level helps them apply local solutions to local problems,” said Rep. Josephson. “Oil taxes are bringing the state record high revenue, while our communities are cutting school budgets and important services. The state should share more with our towns and cities, not less.”
The governor’s budget includes $60 million for revenue sharing. Without passage of HB 117 and HB 118 or other legislative action, the amount distributed next year will be $25 million lower than this year, when the legislature supplemented revenue sharing with a one-time appropriation.
A comparison of what individual communities receive under current law, the governor’s proposed budget, and Rep. Josephson’s proposal is here: http://akhouse.org/docs/021313_revenue_sharing_spreadsheet.pdf