Today (Tuesday) state lawmakers convene in Juneau for the first day of the legislative session. Kodiak’s Republican legislative delegation is well placed with state Senator Gary Stevens serving as senate president and state House Rep. Alan Austerman the majority leader.
Governor Sean Parnell has already seized the initiative by pushing for legislation that would offer tax breaks and incentives to oil and gas companies to promote further expansion.
But Kodiak’s legislators say they are skeptical that’s the right move. Austerman says that up to 90 percent of the state’s revenue comes from energy royalties, and he says that many in Juneau are convinced that tax breaks are necessary to boost production.
— legislature 1 :38 "I have not embraced that … very little money going in."
Senator Gary Stevens says that the state has already offered a number of tax incentives to encourage production and he’s not convinced more tax relief is warranted.
— legislature 2 1:06 "We want to make sure … oil into that pipeline."
Closer to home, Kodiak has a laundry list of projects it hopes to secure state funding for. Both Austerman and Stevens say it’s too early to say how much would be allocated to Kodiak.
— legislature 3 1:17 "We don’t know right now … on budgetary issues."
The legislative session is only 90 days long following a voter referendum that shortened the session from 120 days. Stevens has already introduced legislation to lengthen the session. And Austerman says he’s adopting a wait-and-see approach.
— legislature 4 :51 "You know when it was … with our constituents."
Both lawmakers agree debate over the length of the session should continue.