A member of the minority organization in the State House has put forward a couple of bills intended to increase the amount of money the State of Alaska shares with communities.
Representative Andy Josephson from Anchorage is a new member of the State House and he used a press conference on Tuesday to announce his intention to introduce the revenue sharing bill. The legislation would modify Title 29, which is the revenue sharing statute. Josephson says,
"The current model was devised in 2006 before the major spike in oil prices that we have seen and enjoyed. I'm looking for all the support I can get for this legislation. We have been stuck on a $60-million dollar amount for 6 or 7-years now. With inflation alone I think we need an increase. I think this would soften the burden placed on property owners in my hometown of Anchorage who pay property taxes they find exorbitant and I share that concern."
House Bill 117 would increase the amount of money shared with communities across the state up to $90-million dollars when the state is experiencing high oil prices. The amount goes down when oil prices fall. Josephson's second bill is House Bill 118 that would put an additional $90-million dollars in the Community Revenue Sharing Fund. In a written statement Representative Josephson claims that would create a sufficient starting balance in the fund to allow the annual $90-million distributions to communities. House Bill 117 has been referred to the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee and House Finance. House Bill 118 was referred just to the Finance Committee. Neither bill has yet been scheduled for a committee hearing.