JUNEU – On Wednesday, Senate Democrats passed two laws to increase revenue for the state of Alaska. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on August 24, 2021, the Legislature’s bipartisan finance department found that Alaska is facing a fiscal 2023 budget deficit of $ 285 million, even after an overdraft on its Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account.
Sponsored by Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage), Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage), and Senator Donny Olson (D-Golovin), Senate Bill 3002 will raise fuel tax to $ 0.08 per gallon – the lowest in the world World Nation – at $ 0.16 a gallon, which would then rank Alaska number 43 in the nation for its fuel tax. The bill would also lower the oil and gas tax credit per barrel from $ 8 to $ 5 and fill a loophole in Alaska’s corporate tax law by requiring highly profitable non-public companies to pay the current publicly traded corporate tax rate of 9.4 percent. Taken together, these revenue measures would raise about $ 250 million per fiscal year for the state of Alaska over the next year and continue to grow steadily.
Senator Begich and Senator Gray-Jackson also introduced Senate Bill 3003 along with Joint Senate Resolution 302. Resolves the spending tension between dividends and government spending and provides for a sustainable dividend of at least $ 1,200 that will grow over time.
“This is not the be-all and end-all of getting Alaska on a course of fiscal solvency. It’s a starting point to get the conversation back on track, to approve new revenue and balance our state budget, ”said Tom Begich (D-Anchorage), Senate Democratic leader. “We can’t keep hoping and praying that Alaska’s budget gap will resolve itself. These revenue ideas have already been discussed, presented by the Commissioner of Revenue to the administration of the bipartisan fiscal plan working group, and were viewed by the working group as viable revenue measures that might reach consensus. The constitutional amendment and the accompanying law are intended to initiate the discussion on these critical questions. The time to talk about solutions is over – now we have to act. “