The Halfway Mark

File Photo

by Rep. Zach Fansler

March 9, 2017

Dear Friends,

The Legislature is a slightly over halfway through our first regular 90-day session and our work carries on. The House Finance committee is considering hundreds of amendments to the operating budget this week and several other bills are queued up for consideration of an income tax, changes to oil tax credits, and permanent fund restructuring. Our Alaskan House Majority Caucus continues to promote a comprehensive approach to solving our fiscal crisis to achieve a balanced and fair budget for all Alaskans.

In Case You Missed It

I continue to conduct biweekly call-in shows with KYUK to give legislative updates and take questions from constituents. Last Friday we discussed fuel taxes, income taxes and prisoner treatment programs. Check it out if you missed the live show.

The 2017 Iditarod is Underway

My best wishes for a safe and fun race to all mushers racing in the Iditarod this year. A special shout out to our local mushers Richie Diehl from Aniak and Pete Kaiser from Bethel who are both in the field this year and running amazing races thus far.

A Day to Celebrate Women!

I am a strong advocate of Women’s rights and equality in the work force. I was proud to wear red along-side my staff yesterday in honor of yesterday’s international celebration of women. Many of the other State House Representatives also wore red in solidarity.

Selected Bill Highlights

HB 44 – Legislative Ethics, Voting and Conflicts. This bill provides a clear and concise process for legislators to declare a conflict on a bill. It is still in the State Affairs committee where they have been taking public testimony on the issue. Email the committee to provide comments directly. My office has continued to work with the bill sponsor to introduce changes to the bill to make it stronger.

HB 57 – Operating Budget/Loans/Funds. This appropriations bill encompasses the operating budget for the State of Alaska. It is currently in the House Finance committee where they are considering over 300 amendments.

HB 59 – Mental Health Budget. This appropriations bill is the budget for the Alaska Mental Health Trust and is being considered in the House Finance committee along with HB 57.

HB 106 – Civil legal services fund. This bill would establish an additional funding mechanism for Alaska Legal Services. This would give the legislature the option of levying up to 25% of court fees for Alaska Legal Services in times of a fiscal certainty. My office presented this bill at a hearing in the House Finance committee earlier this week.

HB 111 – Oil and Gas Production Tax, Payments, Credits. This bill would restructure the oil and gas tax credits in a way that helps ensure oil companies contribute their fair share for developing our resources. This bill is still in the House Resources Committee. If you are interested in providing comments on this bill you can email the committee.

HB 115 – State Revenue Restructuring. This bill proposes a restructuring of Alaska’s revenue by implementing a state income tax, a capital gains tax, and restructuring Permanent Fund draws. It is currently waiting to be heard in the House Finance Committee. If you are interested in providing comments on this bill you can email the committee.

HB 141 – AK Workforce Investment Board Funds. This bill provides continued funding for Alaska’s Technical Vocational Education Program which includes funding for Yuut Elitnaurviat and University of Alaska programs in our region. My office presented this bill at a hearing in the House Labor & Commerce Committee this week.

HB 154 – Holitna Basin Fish & Game Reserve. This bill establishes the Holitna River Basin Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Reserve. My office is carrying this bill and will continue to work on moving it forward.

Don’t forget your PFD application

It’s that time of year again and the PFD application deadline is quickly approaching. If you haven’t applied yet be sure to visit the Permanent Fund Dividend Division and fill out your application now!

I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!

Have a good one,

Zach Fansler

Alaska State Representative

District 38 – Bethel