State income tax proposal passes Alaska House
NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending April 21.
As predicted, the Legislature did not adjourn April 16, the 90th day of session and the deadline voters approved for it. They have taken a long weekend as the Senate held a technical session April 20 and will hold its next floor session April 24.
The House held a technical session April 21 and will meet again April 24. Committees have been closed on the Senate side, except for financial issues and priority legislation. House committees are meeting on a comparatively limited basis.
The Budget has not yet gone into conference committee, so the end of the session is at least a week off, probably more. Most are hoping the session won’t go beyond 121 days, the constitutional deadline.
The House passed its income tax measure, House Bill 115, to the Senate. The Senate assigned it to the Labor & Commerce Committee where it will be heard first. NFIB remains strongly opposed to the bill. HB 115 will be heard next week in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. The Senate majority has come up with a tax calculator for people to see how they would be affected by a state income tax.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
House Bill 38 was heard and held in the House Finance Committee. NFIB maintained its opposition to both the increase in the benefit and the addition of compensation to non-dependent parents or the estate of a person without dependents. The House majority may approve the measure because of strong union support.
House Bill 25 received its first hearing in the Finance Committee this past week. It will be heard again April 27. NFIB continues to oppose insurance mandates. The bill has been amended to include many state employees. There is a question if all state employees are included.
NFIB continued its strong support of Senate Bill 54, which would correct many problems on penalties for theft created by last year’s passage of Senate Bill 91.
“Senate Bill 54 corrects unintentional problems caused by the passage and interpretation of Senate Bill 91 passed by the legislature in 2016,” wrote NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt in a letter of support sent to Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee. “Our members are experiencing substantially more theft by the same people as a result of the lack of tools our police have to deal with petty theft. We believe the changes in SB 54 will help deter misdemeanor crime and provide enforcement agencies the tools to help reduce criminal activity.”
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[Tile photo of House Finance Committee courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]