Republican representative of District 32, Louise Stutes, says she’s not done in the House – she still has bills she’d like to see through and a budget to work on.
If re-reelected during the upcoming election, that’ll be the first item she tackles.
“First and foremost we need a sustainable budget for the state. We have to become fiscally responsible and have a solid plan for sustainability in our finances in this state. That’s a priority.”
She says she and her colleagues would need to look at restructuring the Permanent Fund Dividend so that it continues to the next generation of Alaskans and the ones that follow.
They’ll need to cut the budget, and also generate new funds.
“I’m not in favor of a sales tax. I think that hurts rural Alaskans too much. There will be, I’m sure, independent bills – there’s going to be a fishery tax bill. I can pretty much guarantee you that. There’s gonna be a fuel tax bill. There’s gonna be several different avenues in which revenue will be generated.”
Stutes says she thinks the fishing industry has accepted that a fisheries tax is likely.
“I think the key is getting a tax bill that is workable for all the stakeholders and all the sectors of the fisheries, not putting the burden more on one section of the fisheries than another. We’re all gonna have to share in this and we’re gonna need to do to that to maintain our fisheries in a healthy, sustainable manner.”
Another issue she says is important in District 32 is the marine highway system.
“We have to got to have a dependable, strong, marine highway system. That’s our highway, and so when I hear legislators from the mainland say, well, we’re subsidizing you, well, guess what? We are subsidizing them in their highway system. And that’s what I’ve tried to get across to them. Our ferries are our highway system.”
Stutes will run against unaffiliated candidate Duncan Fields and Democrat Brent Watkins in the upcoming general election in November.