Action Line: CBJ Chamber of Commerce officials comment on lack of action by legislature

    Chamber Vice President Eric Erickson and Executive Director Craig Dahl both spoke about the failure of the Alaska legislature to pass a fiscal plan on Action Line Tuesday.

    There was reaction from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Action Line Tuesday to the Legislature's failure to come up with a fiscal plan.

    The organization's vice president, Eric Erikson, began by explaining the difficulties on the city level.

    "This is a hot topic for our state," Erikson began. "I mean, here we've been on pause and waiting for some action from the state legislature as we passed our resolution promoting the use of PFD earnings as a mean of solving this fiscal crisis, and they didn't choose to do anything; there was no action. It's been a big concern, and we've been trying to evaluate what our next step is as an organization representing businesses here in Juneau while also trying to weigh what everyone across the state is going to do."

    "I think in terms of what we can say on the air that "disappointing" is about the best word we can come up with," added Executive Director Craig Dahl. "I think there was a point in the process we thought they were going to make a decision, and it was obvious that they needed to. As Eric said, the whole city's on hold, and businesses are on hold; what kind of fiscal impact are we going to see from reduced revenue sharing and other issues?"

    On another matter, Erikson outlined the chamber's view of the Assembly proposal to place two questions on the October ballot regarding the temporary 3 percent sales tax.

    One would extend the levy for another five years, while the other would make it permanent after that time.

    "Currently, we feel like it's not a time for significant change." said Erickson. "We are sitting on a situation where there's enough uncertainty that we think we need to kind of pause and not make significant changes to our sales tax. The 3% temporary renewal that comes on the ballot this fall is important, but to change it to make it permanent or increase it without knowing if the state will implement a sales tax in the future are decisions we aren't prepared to make at this time. I think it's just kind of hold the course, support the temporary 3% sales tax, and wait and see."

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