Senate committee told tougher measures are needed to combat wave of stealing across Alaska
NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending March 31.
Member Ron Flint testified in favor of Senate Bill 55. This bill deals with important changes to last year’s crime bill – Senate Bill 91. It would add to the maximum jail time for class C felonies — robbery from $1,000 to $25,000 – and adds jail time for Theft 4 – stealing items under $250. Both offer the police more leverage dealing with the new wave of theft happening to small businesses across Alaska.
NFIB expects the bill to move from the Senate Finance Committee April 3.
House Bill 142 was heard in the House Labor & Commerce Committee. It would raise the income limit for unemployment insurance taxes and the maximum benefit payment. NFIB’s opposition was noted while the bill was supported by the administration and labor unions. The next hearing has not been scheduled.
House Bill 146, creating an income tax to support education, moved from the Education Committee to the Finance Committee in order to be considered with other income tax bills. House Bill 36, the profits tax will be heard April 1. NFIB is on record opposing both income tax bills.
The House Finance Committee has been hearing House Bill 115, which includes an income tax and restructure of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve and Dividend. The new draft uses the federal adjusted gross income, but does not include deductions for home interest, charitable deductions and child care among many others. Amendments are due Friday afternoon so we may see a very different bill next week. NFIB continues its strong opposition.
House Bill 42, by Rep. Tammie Wilson, moved from the Judiciary Committee to the Finance Committee. This bill, supported by NFIB, would protect citizens and businesses from the state seizing property without court findings.
House Bill 79, Gov. Bill Walker’s workers’ compensation bill that would limit who an independent contractor is, was heard in the House Judiciary Committee March 31. NFIB opposition was discussed. Chris Nettels, an NFIB member, will testify at the next Judiciary Committee hearing April 5.
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[Tile photo of House State Affairs Committee courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]