Republican legislators in the Alaska House and Senate have proposed a new, broad-based fuel tax to prop up the state's oil spill program, which is in the red after years of falling revenues from a per-barrel surcharge on North Slope oil. Juneau Rep. Cathy Munoz and Soldotna Sen. Peter Micciche each unveiled bills Friday that would impose a new tax on the state's distributors of refined fuels of 1 cent and eight-tenths of 1 cent, respectively -- a charge that could trickle down to drivers and airline passengers, among others.
Distilled down to a few concepts, community members told their local legislators that they'd like to see the state spend more responsibly - maybe with an eye toward a few local special interests - and that marijuana regulation needed careful attention, though how new rules should be split between personal consumption, medical use and potential criminalization was far from clear. More than 30 community members attended a legislative town hall meeting on Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough building with Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna, and Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.
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