Lawmaker wants voters' final word on any statewide taxes
Before Alaskans pay any statewide sales or personal income tax, one state lawmaker wants a constitutional amendment that prohibits imposing the tax “without the approval of the voters of the state.”
House Rep. George Rauscher (R-Sutton) has proposed this resolution in advance of the upcoming legislative session scheduled to begin Jan. 15.
“What I believe is that if we are going to ask everybody in the state to pitch in in some way to pay for whatever we do in Juneau, I think we should include them at the time,” he said. “When we get done with our budgets, they are in the billions. Have we cut enough? I don’t know.
“What I’m saying is if we are going to ask them to fork over money out of their pockets out of our deficit, then I think we should be asking them if it’s a good way to do it.”
Lawmakers pushed back on a suite of taxes proposed by former Gov. Bill Walker to help close a deficit that Gov. Mike Dunleavy now pegs at about $1.6 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.
Two years ago, the Senate voted down a House income tax bill. Alaska is the nation’s only state without a statewide sales or personal income tax.
During his four years Walker sought a personal income tax, plus tax increases to motor fuels, cigarettes and alcohol. None gained much traction.
If House Joint Resolution 1 passes with a two-thirds vote in each legislative chamber, it will appear on the state's 2020 election ballot.
Lawmakers filed 43 bills and resolutions ahead of next week’s start. They will file another round of pre-session bills on Friday.
Among some other bills filed Monday:
HB2: Also by Rauscher, this bill proposes relocating the legislative session to Anchorage. Lawmakers from the Mat-Su Borough routinely propose moving either legislative session or all capital functions out of Juneau.
HB7: Rauscher brings this bill forward as well, seeking to place parameters on sexual education in public schools. Instruction may not include “advocacy of sexual activity out of wedlock; use of contraceptive methods or devices; homosexuality.”
HB13: Establishing work requirements for certain adults eligible for Medicaid by Rep. Chuck Kopp (R-Soldotna). Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) has a similar bill, SB7. The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it failed to gain traction in the House.
HB21: Rep. Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) looks to reprise his efforts to get insurance coverage for contraceptives. Some anti-abortion opponents have viewed this approach as a pro-abortion bill.
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