Dave Donaldson, APRN - Juneau
The state House and Senate are both working on increasing funding to schools this year. But the lawmakers disagree over how to get there. House Speaker Mike Chenault from Kenai says he believes the House and Senate are close in principle over approving an increase in funding for local schools.
Senator Lisa Murkowski tops the events scheduled before the legislature this week.
Newly appointed Attorney General Michael Geraghty made his first appearance before legislators today to talk about the budget, pending litigation – and what he calls the state’s “proactive” role in state’s rights litigation.
The Senate today finished a two-day seminar on petroleum taxes focusing on Alaska’s place in world markets and a plan for what it will take to increase the amount of oil produced on the North Slope. The proposal calls for a massive re-write of the state’s tax regime.
Lawmakers Monday opened a two-day seminar designed to give them options and alternatives to Governor Parnell’s plan that would cut taxes for the oil industry.
The Senate Resources Committee late Friday afternoon opened a series of hearings on a bill changing the state’s oil tax regime. Revenue Commissioner Brian Butcher has been before the Committee explaining the oil production downturn that he says began about the time the legislature passed the current tax on company profits as worldwide oil prices began to increase.
The Senate today passed the bill increasing funding for local schools by$30-million in next years’ budget. During both Education Committee and Finance Committee hearings, school boards and administrators have said that they need much more than that to avoid laying off teachers and cutting programs
The measure delays current law requiring candidates to file their campaign finance reports online. Those reports go to the Public Offices Commission which has had problems getting the computer system to work for everyone who has tried it.
The Senate plans to take a fast, but completely fresh look at oil taxes when it begins work later this week on changes to the state’s tax regime. A new bill that will be used to set up the plan will be introduced Friday morning and is already scheduled for a hearing in the Resources Committee that afternoon.
Legislators today looked at an initiative likely to be on the ballot later this year that would re-establish a Coastal Management Program. The previous program was allowed to close last summer as lawmakers and the administration could not agree on the terms of extending it.
The Alaska Northern Waters Task Force has given the legislature its findings and recommendations on the effects of climate change in the Arctic – and how the state fits into national and international interest in the arctic region.
The Senate is working on getting final plans in order to have a new oil and gas tax bill before the public by the end of next week. President Gary Stevens has said he has no intention of working with the tax-rewrite bill the governor introduced – and the House passed.