Public Budget Testimony Opportunity,
New Bills, University Under Attack
All About The Budget
As we near the halfway mark of the session, the legislature bears down on the budget. The next couple of weeks will be a critical stage in the budget process as the House Finance Committee hears public testimony next week before heading to the House floor.
|Rep. Kawasaki at the community meeting last week
On Tuesday, March 1, from 3:45pm to 6:00pm, I will join my colleagues on the House Finance Committee to hear testimony from our neighbors in Fairbanks. To testify, visit the Fairbanks Information Office or call (907) 452-4448 and they will connect you.
When Rep. Adam Wool and I met with the Fairbanks community last week, our neighbors voiced concern about issues ranging from the economy to taxes and the Permanent Fund Dividend. With public input, the budget puts more of your priorities front and center. I will continue fighting to protect a healthy economy and a robust education system that hardworking Alaskan families need to prosper.
University of Alaska under Threat
The House Finance Subcommittee on the University cut over $35 million from their budget last night. That represents almost 15% less state support than last year. As this budget moves to the full House Finance Committee, I will look closely at what these disastrous cuts will do to the students, teachers and the overall economy of Fairbanks.
|Rep. Kawasaki Toured UAF’s incomplete engineering building
With the upcoming Arctic Science Summit Week in Fairbanks, there is no better time to highlight what UAF offers as an economic boon to Fairbanks. UAF would not be the most widely cited research institution in the world without support from the State that attracts hundreds of millions in federal grants. I encourage you to contact all members of the House and Senate Finance Committees to voice your support.
New Bills: State Bank, Opening Public Lands to Private Sector and Reducing Barrier Crimes
This week was the final deadline for the 29th Legislature to introduce personal legislation and I’ve introduced three new bills aimed at addressing some of the economic and legal issues facing Alaska.
Bank of Alaska
HB 364 would create a state bank that would give new small businesses a fresh way to put their ideas into action. The Bank of Alaska would make participatory loans to community banks, reducing risk and increasing the availability of financing.
With the state facing a $3.5 billion deficit, a Bank of Alaska would act as a way to raise revenue while helping Alaskans invest in themselves and their community directly.
|Rep. Kawasaki Introduced three new bills this week.
Remote Recreational Cabins Purchasing Program
HB 320 allows Alaskans to stake 2.5 acres of unencumbered state land for recreational cabins on any state land not planned for use. Those seeking state land would be responsible for paying the assessed fair-market price for the land and costs associated with surveying and appraising it.
This purchasing program would run parallel with the current Land Lottery system in place. The current Land lottery system in Alaska has been widely successful, but it limits the available land to preselected areas. This bill leaves the choice of land to individuals.
Reducing Collateral Consequences
HB 321 would reduce the time an Alaskan convicted of misdemeanor assault would be barred from working in a healthcare setting from 5 years to a maximum of 1 year. The bill includes an exception allowing for stricter regulation on crimes involving domestic violence.
Bans on employment like this, called collateral consequences, are regulations that prohibit businesses, like hospitals and tribal health providers, from hiring Alaskans well after they have paid their restitution. These collateral consequences create barriers to employment for minor offenses and increase recidivism. The most effective way to keep someone from committing another crime is allowing them to find a job.
TONIGHT: Public Testimony Opportunity for Income Tax
The Senate Labor & Commerce Committee will hold public testimony TONIGHT (Thursday) at 6:00pm on the Governor’s Income tax bill proposal (SB 134). You can testify by calling your local Legislative Information Office or by submitting written testimony to Senate.Labor.and.Commerce@akleg.gov.
As always, please feel free to contact me anytime about any of the Governor’s revenue proposals, the budget, bills or anything else of interest to you. I’m here to work for you, contact me anytime.
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks
P.S. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook Or Instagram.