- Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s pick to lead the Department of Revenue told lawmakers Thursday she is “passionate” about working to identify alternative revenue sources for the state.

Lucinda Mahoney, in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, said the state needs a long-term fiscal plan that evaluates all sources of revenues and pushes down on spending. Additionally, she said debt and opportunities to refinance it should be looked at.

She testified by phone for her confirmation hearing Thursday, saying she was dealing with a bad cold.

Mahoney is a former chief financial officer for the city of Anchorage. More recently, she has worked as a business consultant, according to her resume. Her appointment as Revenue commissioner is subject to legislative approval.

She said measures have been put in place to avoid potential conflicts of interest in her role as Revenue commissioner with work done by her husband, Steve Mahoney, an attorney who has represented oil and gas interests. Mahoney said that includes delegating settlement and litigation issues her husband would be involved in to Deputy Commissioner Mike Barnhill.

Questioned on that issue by Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski, Mahoney said she did not intend to be involved in “anything historical associated with any of the issues or any of the matters that my husband has been involved with.” But she said if there were forward-looking proposals, such as a bill to change oil taxes, she would be involved in that.

“I’m very passionate about working hard to identify alternative revenue sources, and if that includes changes to the tax formulas, my goal is to do what’s best for the state of Alaska,” she said later.

Dunleavy, a Republican, has not introduced any tax bills this session. Barnhill previously told House lawmakers the Department of Revenue is interested in future discussions with lawmakers on sales taxes.

The state, which has been struggling with a long-running deficit, relies on oil revenue and earnings from its oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund, to help pay for government expenses. North Slope oil prices this week have been below $40 a barrel.

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