After an election season that saw him successfully fend off challengers in both the Democratic and Republican parties, Representative Paul Seaton is getting ready to go back to work in Juneau – this time representing a larger swath of the Kenai Peninsula, thanks to redistricting.
Seaton and his staff are in transition to Juneau this week, with the goal to have the office there set up in time for the start of the legislative session Tuesday. He says communicating with constituents on the Kenai Peninsula is much easier than it was years ago, with the predominance of email, Internet use and the online resources provided by Gavel to Gavel and Web TV. One effective way to keep in touch is with his weekly email newsletter.
"It comes out Monday of every week and let's everybody know what's happening in alll of the committees I serve on," said Seaton.
Seaton says the primary goal of the weekly newsletter is to make sure than constituents can follow the action in Juneau on legislation that affects them.
Seaton intends to file several bills before or at the start of the legislative session, including one that would establish a statewide “Jay Hammond Day,” one that would allow the state to react to invasive species more quickly and another that would make adjustments to the “Pick Click Give” program to make it easier for smaller non-profits to receive donations.
One bill that Seaton introduced last year and says he intends to fight for once again would reinstitute the practice of “separate accounting” for oil and gas companies operating in Alaska. The bill would force the companies to separate their Alaska income from the rest of their worldwide income when calculating the corporate income tax they pay to the state.
"Basically, we're incentivizing them to invest overseas by .,... reducing taxes here because of investments overseas," he said.
The bill had several hearings last year but never came to a full vote. Seaton hopes the bill will gain traction this year and perhaps his position as chair of the House Resources committee will help.
In addition to Resources, Seaton will sit on the Education, Fisheries and Health and Social Services committees this year.
Of course, much of the media attention in Juneau this session will likely center once again on the possibility of oil tax reform.
The 2013 session of the 28th Alaska State Legislature is set to gavel in Tuesday, January 15th. Representative Paul Seaton made his comments on the “Coffee Table” program, which aired Wednesday on KBBI and KDLL.