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CBJ gets update from Juneau legislators

Posted: January 17, 2013 - 12:10am
Sen. Dennis Egan addresses his fellow Juneau delegates and staff and the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly during a discussion of city issues Wed. morning.  Russell Stigall
Russell Stigall
Sen. Dennis Egan addresses his fellow Juneau delegates and staff and the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly during a discussion of city issues Wed. morning.

Teamwork topped the discussion Wednesday morning as the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly met with Juneau’s two representatives and lone senator.

Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) said the Juneau delegation works “hand-in-glove as a team.” The delegation, she said, is focused on Juneau’s needs and those other small communities.

“It is going to be an interesting year,” Kerttula said. “I think we are going to have more of the Capital Budget in the long run than it looks like.”

Some things like SLAM funding are already in motion, she said.

Rep. Cathy Muñoz, (R-Juneau) said the budget holds significant challenges. Though oil prices are up, production is down.

“So for (fiscal year 2013 to 2014) we are looking at a $1 billion less in revenue than in coming into FY13,” Muñoz said.

During the last election, the Southeast delegation lost two co-chairs in finance committees, Muñoz said.

“That was a big hit for our region,” Muñoz said.

Big legislation for the first session of the 28th Alaska Legislature, Muñoz said, would include Rep. Mike Chenault’s gasline bill and Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil tax bill.

“We’ll particularly focus on the progressivity features,” Muñoz said.

Muñoz also drew attention to a performance audit bill that could require state departments to go through audits every 10 years — two or three departments a year. “To understand from the bottom up where the money is going,” Muñoz said.

The Southeast delegation would also stay closely connected to the Alaska Marine Highway System’s transition from Alaska Class Ferry to shuttle ferries, Muñoz said, to make sure the ferries work on Lynn Canal.

Sen. Dennis Egan said the decision to caucus with the Senate Majority Republicans was “gut wrenching.”

“I feel very strongly about this,” Egan said. “The makeup of the new Legislature, the way people were organizing, there was no one from coastal Alaska. I’m a Democrat I will always be a Democrat. But I had to caucus to get Juneau’s point across.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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