MARCH 4, 2016
Representing District 17:
Midtown, University, and East Anchorage
I Answer to You!
Contact my office:
716 W 4th Ave, Room 412
Anchorage, AK 99501
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Governor Bill Walker
EMAIL: Gov. Bill Walker
Senator Dan Sullivan
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan
Senator Lisa Murkowski
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Congressman Don Young
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young
District 17 Survey Response & Constituent Meeting
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Rep. Josephson, Sen. Gardner, and Rep. Tarr all join in singing at the UA Rally on Tuesday.
We are now over halfway through the 90-day session and our focus is still on the budget. In House Resources we are still delving into HB247, the Governor’s oil & gas tax credit bill. We have been hearing from representatives of the industry about what they dislike about the bill and why they are so adamantly opposed. The committee will be taking up amendments soon and there are a few that I will be offering.
Next week the Senate Finance Committee will be holding public testimony on the Operating Budget. Anchorage has its own designated slot on Wednesday, March 9th from 9-10:45am. If you would prefer to submit written testimony you can send your comments to Finance.email@example.com. I will likely send another reminder next week when the date is a little closer.
Tomorrow, March 5th at 11am Senator Gardner, Representative Drummond, and I will be hosting our District I Constituent meeting at Steller Secondary School near Fireweed Lane and Blueberry Street. Please come join us to discuss the current legislative session, the budget, and anything else that may be on your mind. Some light snacks and water will be provided.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to fill out our district survey. So far we have received 153 responses from District 17 and 360 overall, and more are coming in every day! Below are the results as of the time I am writing this newsletter. If you have not had an opportunity to fill out the survey follow the link here and it will take you to the online version.
You may wonder how I view this important fiscal issue. The key for me is “balance” and equity. For example, I believe that oil and gas tax credits are important but not sustainable (we are projected to spend $700 million this year alone on them!). That is half the amount that is paid annually for Permanent Fund dividends. If that is not reformed, it strikes me that it would be unfair to cut dividends. Further, dividend cuts—viewed in isolation—are regressive. Cutting dividends without seeking other sources of revenue would be unfair. Again, I want something balanced and equitable.
Additionally (and this is vital to me), I am not interested in raising revenue if the result is a devastated budget. For instance, it is one thing to cut government spending from $5.1 billion to $4.9 billion. It is quite another thing to cut government spending from $5.1 billion to $4.1 billion. I believe that would force a recession and lead us to an Alaska that no one would care to live in. Again, I want balance and equity.
As always, please call or email with any thoughts, ideas, or concerns.
I Answer to You!
Representative Andy Josephson
State Capitol Bldg., Room 430