House waiting on Senate to pass fuel tax increase

Governor’s proposal raises gas tax from 8 cents to 24 cents by 2018
  • Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, works on final amendments to the Capital Budget before it passage out of committee at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
  • Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, left, listens to Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, as the House Finance Commitee works on a bill to comply with the federal Real ID Act at the Capitol on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

JUNEAU — With one week remaining in the Legislature’s regular session, a core piece of the state budget is still receiving no public attention.

The rough-draft budgets approved by the House and the Senate take for granted that the Legislature will hike the state’s gasoline tax, but legislation enacting that hike hasn’t been considered for more than two months.

“We all understand that this is the mechanism that this is logical for us to go forward,” said Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer and co-chairman of the House Finance Committee. “That hasn’t happened yet, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all.”

At the start of this year’s legislative session, Gov. Bill Walker proposed tripling Alaska’s motor fuel tax by 2018. From 8 cents per gallon of gasoline at the pump today, the tax would rise to 16 cents this year, then reach 24 cents next year. Alaska’s gas tax would go from the lowest in the nation to merely below the national average.

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05/11/2017 - 11:31am