Kito election plans remain on hold

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau Representative Sam Kito's plans to seek re-election to his House seat or run for the seat being vacated by Senator Dennis Egan remain on hold. His decision is pending action by Legislature on the recommendation of the State Salary Commission to end per diem for Juneau lawmakers.

    The legislature has until the middle of this month to reject that recommendation.  Kitto said on Action Line Thursday that a bill introduced by Fairbanks Representative David Guttenberg rejects the recommendation.

    Beyond such a step,  Kito said he took a comprehensive look at legislative compensation and tried to figure ways on how to save money, provide an incentive to get lawmakers out of session earlier.  Kito plans to submit his idea to the House Labor and Commerce Committee Monday....

    The legislation would establish a lower base salary for lawmakers, but provides a per day meeting stipend,  Kito said the stipend decreases in the event of an extended session and decreases further during special sessions to the point where a meeting stipend is not paid.  

    Kito said it would even save more money, even in the 90 day session scenario, than what the salary commission was recommending.  In years when there are three special sessons, Kito said the proposal could save over a million dollars.

    The salary commission's recommendation doesn't take effect until the first of the year, so  Kito's bill  could preempt it if the Legislature doesn't reject it.

    So where does that leave Kito in regards to this year's elections?.  He said he would not be able to make a decision until he knows whether or not the position will provide adequate compensation.

    But  if the issue is resolved, Kito said  that in addition to seeking re-election to his House seat, he would also consider running for the Senate seat representing  Juneau and northern Lynn Canal.


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