The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Bill Johnson for Alaska House

News Briefs

 

Valdez Star photo

The Fairbanks Safe Rider Program came to Valdez last week, with a mission to help motorists - especially those with children and babies on board - reach their destinations safely.

Fireweed 400

For the thirteenth year in a row, cyclist in the Fireweed 400 will be rolling into town this Saturday.

Billed as the Race Across Alaska, the 400K race also features several shorter races within the race.

This year, there is also a two-day 300K race that begins Friday.

Motorists are encouraged to be aware that large numbers of bicyclists will be on the Richardson Highway this Friday and Saturday.

Rain stats

Valdez received over half an inch of rain last week, .7 inches to be exact.

That is the word from Eric Cooper, who monitors rainfall for the National Weather Service, in cooperation with the Valdez Avalanche Center.

In total, Valdez received 21.74 inches of rain between Jan. 1 and July 2.

Ferry's future

Community leaders, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their vision for the future of the Alaska Marine Highway System in a series of open house events slated for July 11 – 13 in Cordova, Whittier, and Valdez.

The Prince William Economic Development District (PWSEDD), in conjunction with the Southeast Conference and the cities of Cordova, Whittier, and Valdez, is hosting the open house events to gather public comment to inform the work of the Alaska Marine Highway System reform initiative project team.

The schedule for the Prince William Sound community open houses is as follows:

Cordova: July 11, 5 -7 p.m. at The Cordova Center Auditorium

Whittier: July 12, 6 -8 p.m. at the Begich Towers Homeowners Lounge

Valdez: July 13, 6-8 p.m. at the Valdez City Council Chambers

State budget

(AP) Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has signed a state operating budget into law, making no vetoes.

Savings are used to fill a $2.5-billion deficit, which Walker's office says will leave $2 billion in the constitutional budget reserve account.

Walker wanted to avoid a continued draw-down of savings. But lawmakers, during an extended regular session and a special session, could not agree on the best long-term approach to address the deficit.

They toyed with setting up a system for structured draws from the earnings of Alaska's oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. But that stalled amid disagreement over what else might need to be done as part of a fiscal plan.

Legislators, motivated by the threat of a government shutdown, passed the operating budget last week. The new fiscal year starts Saturday.

Tax credits

(AP) Alaska Senate Republicans put pressure on the House Thursday to end a program that financially rewards oil exploration and production, while a key House negotiator cited concerns with the Senate's proposal and cautioned against a rushed approach.

The House and Senate agree the state can no longer afford providing cashable credits to small producers and explorers. Under the current structure, the state faces a potential credit obligation of about $1 billion between existing demand and demand forecast for next year.

But House majority coalition members have sought broader changes to oil tax policy as part of the credit debate. And they argue the Senate proposal could be costly in terms of future state tax revenue, a concern that Department of Revenue has tried to ease.

Rep. Geran Tarr, an Anchorage Democrat, said if the state isn't getting a fair share of oil revenue that could mean increased pressure to take money from the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund, the state's oil-wealth nest-egg.

The Legislature has hired oil and gas consultants to assist in their work.

 

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