Both bodies at loggerheads over re-imposition of levy
NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt reports from Juneau on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending April 28.
The Legislature has slowed down to concentrate its energies on a fiscal plan for the state.
The Senate proposal calls for:
- using part of the earnings reserve
- establishing a spending limit
- budget reductions
- and filling the gap from reserves.
The House is demanding:
- an income tax
- using the earnings reserve
- and increasing taxes on the oil companies.
There has been little movement from either side as the session crawls toward adjournment.
Small Business Opposes State Income Tax
Mike Miller, vice-chairman of the NFIB/Alaska Leadership Council testified against House Bill 115, the proposed state income tax bill. He explained to the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee the narrow margins small businesses have, the disparity between big corporations and small businesses using the federal adjusted gross income for state tax purposes, and the problems with taking $680 million out of the private sector during an economic recession.
He also pointed out that calling an income tax a “school tax” does not change it from an income tax. The committee heard testimony from invited experts and citizens. The committee decided not to act on the bill. NFIB will keep a close eye on it and continue its strong opposition. NFIB’s opposition letter can be read here.
Permanent Fund Dividend-Funded Lottery
Senate Bill 78, the lottery allowing Alaskans to voluntarily use a part of the Permanent Fund Dividend to enter a lottery that would help support education, was heard in House Finance and held for further consideration.
Petty Theft Penalties
NFIB is asking the House State Affairs Committee to quickly pass Senate Bill 54. In a letter of support that NFIB has sent to Committee Chairman Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, NFIB said the measure is urgently needed to correct “unintentional problems caused by the passage and interpretation of Senate Bill 91 passed by the legislature in 2016.”
The measure addresses penalties for 4th-degree theft, class A-Misdemeanors, and class C-Felonies. SB 54 would provide the criminal justice system the means to encourage violators to enter treatment to address the many issues driving them to violate our laws.”
This bill is critically important to retail members, according to NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt, who has asked NFIB members to send an email to Kreiss-Tomkins encouraging his support for SB 54.
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[Tile photo of Senate Finance Committee courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]