120 Day Session Adjourns, Oil and Gas Update
120-Day Session Adjourns
Rep. Kawasaki at AIDC press conference on May 19 in Juneau
The 29th Alaska State Legislature adjourned Wednesday night with many of the state’s most pressing issues still unresolved. Despite coming close to agreement on the state operating budget, the one thing the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass, the Legislature is still deadlocked on oil tax subsidies and education funding. In fact, the Republican-led Senate Majority gaveled out before the House could vote on an agreement to extend the session just before midnight. While it’s clear we are much closer to reaching an agreement, we still have miles to go.
On Tuesday, the Republican leadership of the Operating Budget Conference Committee unilaterally decided togut $13 million for education, and approved $430 million in oil and gas industry subsidies, without any chance for public testimony.
My colleagues and I in the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition(AIDC) have been working since Day 1 to reach compromise solutions. We will redouble our efforts in the special session to reach bipartisan compromise, but we’ll need the Republican Senate majority to come to the table and work with us to be part of the solution, as many moderate Republicans did in the House when we agreed on an oil and gas credit reform last Friday.
The Governor’s Call for 4th Special Session
Immediately following adjournment, Governor Walker issued a Proclamation putting 11 pieces of legislation on the table for the 4th Special Session, beginning in Juneau on Monday, May 23:
Rep. Kawasaki during a presentation on mining taxes in House Finance Committee
• Operating and capital budgets for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2016
• HB 245 / SB 128 or similar bill to restructure Permanent Fund
• HB 247 or similar bill to reform oil and gas tax credits
• Governor’s tax proposals on personal income,mining, fisheries, motor fuel, alcohol andtobacco
• HB 66 or similar bill relating to medical insurance coverage for survivors of peace officers and firefighters
• HB 200 or similar bill relating to adoption or guardianship of a child in state custody
• HB 27 or similar bill relating to foster care children
• HB 374 or similar bill relating to an application for a waiver for state innovation for health care insurance
Update on Oil & Gas Credit Reform
Rep. Kawasaki speaking in favor of reducing oil & gas subsidies
I joined 12 democratic colleagues and 8 members of the Republican Majority to support fiscally responsible reform of Alaska’s unsustainable oil tax credit subsidies. We compromised on the issue to get legislation passed last Friday the 13th, but Senate leadership stripped our progress. The bill fixed the issue of “net operating loss” credits, which are threatening future oil revenue to the state. If we do nothing, the state will make $775 million in cash payments to the oil industry next year, which is equal to taking $1,000 out of every Permanent Fund Dividend check.
We must adopt responsible legislation to roll back these unsustainable subsidies to the oil industry before there can be any real discussion about forcing individual Alaskans to pay taxes or give up half of their PFD. After passing a budget compromise, this will be a top priority.
How to Reach Me
I hope to see you around town in Fairbanks this weekend during these few days between sessions. I’m on my way home today to transition the office and spend time with family and constituents. While I’m frustrated we went through 120 days without a solution to many of the major problems facing the state, I am hopeful my colleagues and I will come back refreshed and learn from our successes in bipartisan compromise.
You can reach me via email at Rep.Scott.Kawasaki@akleg.gov, Facebook, Twitter and by cell at (907) 590-0315. You can also reach my staff in the Fairbanks office at (907) 456-7423 or in Juneau at (866) 465-3466.
The links above will help provide additional information about the bills before us in the upcoming session, but you can always e-mail me or call anytime if you have questions or want to relay your comments. Your opinion is important during this historic special session. Hope to see you around town before I head back to Juneau!
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks
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