Alaska House majority ponders alternatives for a broad-based tax
With just nine days to go until the end of the 90-day session, the Alaska House majority is considering alternatives for a statewide income tax – one of its four pillars for solving the state’s $3 billion budget gap.
Until now, most of the caucus’s focus has been on an income tax that is part of House Bill 115. On Tuesday, House leadership said it was still working on getting 21 votes needed to pass it. Later that day, an expected vote on the measure in the House Finance Committee was postponed.
Now, that panel is reviewing alternatives such as a school tax and a corporate tax. House Majority Leader Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, said one of the measures, or a combination of them, will emerge from the committee next week.
“The broad-based plan that we have coming out finance may have elements of each one of those things,” he said. “And so we’re looking at a complete package as we do the hard work of trying to figure out how to fix the fiscal situation. We want to make sure all ideas are incorporated in that as well.”
The Senate majority has consistently opposed an income tax. In an interview Friday afternoon, Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, said he doesn’t see an education or corporate tax getting traction either.
“I don’t think the income tax has much of a chance, I don’t think the other ones do, honestly, just my general take of what’s going on right now,” he said. “But they’ll certainly get a fair hearing.”
House leadership is also calling for an overhaul of the state’s oil tax system. That measure will be up for debate this weekend in the House Finance Committee.
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