Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) - Ketchikan Mayor David Landis, Assembly Member Rodney Dial and Borough Manager Ruben Duran attended the 2019 Legislative Fly-In the week of Feb. 11 in Juneau.
The delegation met with Sen. Bert Stedman and Rep. Dan Ortiz, members of the governor’s office, as well as with staff from the Departments of Transportation, Environmental Conservation, Education, and Revenue.
Ketchikan representatives also met with the City and Borough of Juneau Manager Rorie Watt and attended portions of the Southeast Conference Mid-Session Summit.
Duran says, "Compared to prior years, a great deal more time was spent with legislators discussing the state budget."
During the Fly-In, Gov. Dunleavy unveiled his proposed FY 2020 budget that included significant cuts to State government. Based on initial discussions with Sen. Stedman and Rep. Ortiz, full understanding of the impacts of the proposed reductions in State services will take several weeks.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly is also currently discussing options to fund education.
A move the assembly is considering would dedicate 100 percent of the Tobacco Excise Tax to education. This would bring in an additional $190,000 per year available to education.
The current tax expires December 31, 2021, unless an extension is earlier ratified by the voters.
Tobacco tax revenue to the Local Education Fund is $1,076,000 per year, based on the current allocation of 85 percent to education.
An alternative approach available to the Assembly is to allow the current Tobacco Excise Tax to expire, and enact a second excise tax by ordinance.