OPINION: Here’s some real math to ponder in Alaska budget debate

Political soundbites that propose easy fixes to Alaska’s massive budget deficit get votes. They’ll also get you one of the worst recessions in Alaska history, and a state where your children can’t find a job. You deserve real information instead of soundbites, so you can tell your legislators the path you prefer. Politicians who seek to get votes while the economy sinks are tempting to listen to, but they are doing you a disservice. We lost 9,000 jobs last year. Letting that continue isn’t a future.

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OPINION: Stop Wasteful Spending During a Fiscal Crisis

As the newest member of Alaska’s Legislature, there have been a lot of things that have surprised me about our political process. One of the biggest surprises has been the disconnect between our fiscal situation and some of our spending decisions. This was made crystal clear for me on March 10, 2016, which was my first day in the legislature, when we voted on the proposed budget. 

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OPINION: Stand up for the university

FAIRBANKS — Throughout the last decade, Eielson Air Force Base was under attack. First there were proposals to close the base, then to take the F-16s away, and as a community, we fought back. All across the political spectrum Alaskans united to stand up for an institution of vital importance and we won. Now Eielson is going to host two F-35 squadrons and is a big growth element of our economy. Now another major pillar of our economy is under attack, and it is time that Alaskans rally to protect the University of Alaska.

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OP-ED: Why we should be investing in early childhood education during a budget crisis

Everyone is talking about numbers this session. Alaska’s budget deficit is nearly $3.5 billion. The Republican-led majority threatens to cut an additional $1 billion from state government spending.  Over $3 million is slated to be cut from early childhood education, which would decimate effective programs like Parents as Teachers, the Imagination Library, and pre-k in Alaska.

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OPINION: Time to Make Tough Choices for Alaska

As the legislative session gets ready to start on Tuesday, it seems everybody is talking about the state budget deficit. As I see it, the state is like a cardiac patient who risks a major heart attack. His doctor tells him to quit smoking, lose weight, change his diet, exercise and take his meds. The patient asks, “What if I lose weight first and then try the other stuff?” This won’t cut it, there is no one silver bullet and the patient needs to address all these issues.

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OP-ED: Pivotal Moment in Alaska’s History

This moment in Alaska’s history is pivotal in determining what our future as a state will look like. The sudden drop in oil prices and the broken promises of increased oil production in return for excessive tax cuts and credits have resulted in a nearly $3.5 billion budget gap that must be closed. Alaska is required by law to produce a balanced budget. However, a budget is more than just numbers on a page. It should reflect the basic values of the people.

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Note from Rep. Gara: 4,000 New Jobs: Medicaid Expansion Can Help Prevent A Recession

I hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend! Now for some sobering news – a big wallop to hit you with after a long weekend. And a solution so you hopefully don’t ever feel that wallop! A recent study says Alaska is either in a recession, or is on the possible brink of one. That’s a big concern. Standing still isn’t the way to address this news. Here’s something we should do to help avoid any protracted recession.

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