House Finance Committee members listen as Ed King, Legislative Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources, give the Preliminary 2017 Fall Production Forecast at the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

House Finance Committee members listen as Ed King, Legislative Liaison for the Department of Natural Resources, give the Preliminary 2017 Fall Production Forecast at the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Taxes and budget grab Legislature’s attention this week

With a House-passed version of Senate Bill 54 likely headed to the Senate, both the House and Senate are beginning to turn their attention to taxes and the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

Senators are expected to return to Juneau and hold hearings here after departing the capital in an effort to save money.

In the House, members of the House Finance Committee are scheduled to hear from Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation CEO Angela Rodell on Monday. Rodell is expected to reprise a presentation she gave last week to the Senate Finance Committee. That presentation involved questions about how the fund will cope if the Legislature uses it to erase a portion of the deficit.

On Tuesday, the House Finance Committee will hear from Pat Pitney, director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget. Again, Pitney is expected to reprise a presentation previously given to the Senate Finance Committee, which has been meeting in Anchorage.

Both meetings are expected to start at 1 p.m. and end at 4 p.m.

In the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a joint meeting with the Senate Finance Committee at 2 p.m. Wednesday to review SB 54 and the cost of implementing the bill.

At 9 a.m. the follwoing day, the Senate Finance Committee will hear from David Teal, director of the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Division. Teal had been scheduled to speak to the committee last week in Anchorage, but that meeting was canceled, and Teal will instead talk to the committee as it meets in Juneau.

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to hear a presentation on SB 4001, a payroll tax proposed by Gov. Bill Walker. In an opinion column published by the Empire on Sunday, Senate President Pete Kelly said the Senate Majority doesn’t believe a tax is needed to address the deficit.

Assuming the Legislature stays in session through the end of this week, there will be one more week before the special session’s 30-day limit expires.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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