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KNBA News - No income tax for now says official; State loses Native allotment land case

Revenue Commissioner said Income Tax Unlikely This Legislative Session

By the Associated Press

Revenue Commissioner Randall Hoffbeck said he doesn't think a bill to reinstate a personal state income tax in Alaska will move in the Legislature this session.

The bill is one of several proposed by Gov. Bill Walker as part of plan to address the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

Hoffbeck said Walker still thinks it's important and the administration will continue to push it. But he said it hasn't gotten much interest from legislators so far.

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GOP Sorts Delegates After Rubio Leaves Field

By AP

The Alaska Republican party has awarded 14 delegates each to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump after Marco Rubio suspended his campaign earlier this week.

Cruz edged Trump earlier this month to win the Alaska GOP's presidential preference poll. Rubio placed third.

Delegates were allocated proportionately to how well the candidates did in the poll. Initially Cruz was awarded 12 delegates, Trump, 11 and Rubio, five.

Ben Carson and John Kasich also were on the ballot but didn't garner the level of support needed to earn delegates.

In a release Thursday, the party said that under its rules, if a presidential candidate drops out before the state convention, the percentage of national delegates pledged to that candidate is to be reapportioned.

The GOP state convention is in late April.

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State loses suit to take Native Allotment lands

By Joaqlin Estus

In court, the state of Alaska lost its bid for easements along historic trails across Native allotments near Chicken, in Interior Alaska. The Department of Law is now turning to the larger issue of getting easements along historic trails crossing private and federal land.

Monday [March 14, 2016] the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the U.S. Department of Interior, Tanana Chiefs Conference and Native allotment owners Agnes and Anne Purdy. Richard Monkman represents the regional nonprofit Tanana Chiefs Conference on the side of the Purdy's.

“In simple terms, this was a land grab,” said Monkman.“The state was trying to get something for nothing at the expense of a Native family that had been in possession of this land for a long long time. The courts put an end to that.”

Monkman said the facts fly in the face of the state’s argument that the trails are needed for public use.

“They asserted in court that they had a right of way to go from Chicken to Eagle across the Purdy’s land and they needed the land for that purpose. But there’s a state highway just a few miles to the east that takes people back and forth quite adequately,” said Monkman.“There’s no reason for them to take this land.”

Department of Law assistant attorney general Cori Mills said the state hasn’t decided whether to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court

“We’re still evaluating all our options on this case,” said Mills.

She said the state has a larger issue to contend with.

“The underlying case has to do with the state seeking to quiet title to public trails in the 40-mile region,” said Mills. “And these trails go across both private and public land as well as the land of some two in particular Alaska Native allotments.”

Mills said the private land-owners in the area are okay with giving the state title to rights-of-way across their lands. She said the state is already in court over getting title for historic trails across federal lands.

“The important parts of the case and the crux of the case are really about these public trails as they go along federal land. So the important issues are still really at the district court level,” explained Mills. “So we’re going to start…that case was stayed until this appeal occurred. So that’s going to keep going forward. 

The state has up to 60 days to decide whether to appeal the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling.

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