May 20, 2016
Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed
State Capitol Bldg. Rm 9
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Governor Bill Walker
Lt. Governor Byron Mallot
What the heck is going on in Juneau?
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A few days ago my son-in-law called me asking what was happening with the legislature, and when I was going to be home. I told him we were all asking each other the same questions, and I'm guessing many of my friends and neighbors would like to know my answer.
Since last fall I have been saying that our number one job this year was to find a path to a comprehensive, sustainable fiscal plan, which would protect the future of this beautiful state. The first step in that plan had to be fixing the unsustainable oil company subsidies in which the state currently covers 75% of the cost for oil exploration, and up to 65% of development costs, with a host of other overly generous tax terms that are unsustainable and do not protect the state. When those are fixed, I support any plan that is fair across the state, and gets the job done.
Early in the session, Democrats and Independents in the House and Senate suggested a Ways & Means committee to look at the options systematically. There was no response from the Republican majorities. We suggested a “committee of the whole,” to set aside caucus designations and work together (you can read more on that in the web link below). There was no response.
Recently a member of the Senate Republican leadership, referring to the oil company subsidy issue, asked me what "our number" was. I responded that we had never talked about a number. Our focus was on the system and if we took care of that, the numbers would work out. I was referring, of course, to “The 5 ticking time bombs in our tax structure." Senator Wielechowski has explained how they prevent the state from benefiting even as oil prices rise.Click on the link below to read more on those ticking time bombs:
Our view today is that the first part (oil credits) of our number one job (sustainable fiscal plan) has not been accomplished, even with a 30 day extended session. This can be seen in the ADN article linked below:
As much as I want to be home with my family, I support the Governor's call to a Special Session. There is nothing more important for me to do than continue fighting to protect our future.
I’m Berta and I’m still listening,
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.