Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
April 3rd, 2015
In this issue:
• Anchorage Election
• Budget update
• Constituent survey results
• One Percent for Art
• Community events & opportunities

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The countdown is on to the end of session. The budget remains the largest issue for the Legislature this session. In this newsletter, I have included the final results from our constituent survey. Thank you to all who responded! I hope everyone has a great Passover and Easter weekend. And please be sure to vote in our local election!

Anchorage Municipal Election on Tuesday, April 7 and Early Voting

Voting is one of the greatest privileges that we share as Americans and Alaskans. On Tuesday, April 7, we have our next municipal election. There are opportunities for early voting this Saturday and Sunday at the Loussac Library. On election day (April 7th), polls are open from 7am to 8pm. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, April 7th. If you have further questions about polling locations, call the Municipal Clerk’s office at (907) 343-VOTE.

Remember to vote in the upcoming Mayor’s race in Anchorage. Several bonds are also on the ballot.
Remember to vote in the upcoming Mayor’s race in Anchorage. Several bonds are also on the ballot.

Find out more details here.

Budget Update

Yesterday, the Senate Finance committee voted on the Operating Budget. Today, the Senate will be voting on the budget on the Senate Floor. You can watch the debate live here. The Senate Finance Committee made several significant cuts, including a $47.5 million reduction to education funding through a 4 percent cut from the Base Student Allocation. Another issue is a cut made to cancel the annual cost-of-living increases for state employees, which had been previously negotiated in a three year contract. The House did not include either of these cuts in its version of the Operating Budget.

Once the Senate votes on the budget, it will go to a “Conference Committee,” where members of the House and Senate will try to work out the differences between the two proposed budgets. 

Rep. Claman offering an amendment to remove intent language that would have eliminated the WWAMI program when the Operating Budget was on the House Floor.
Rep. Claman offering an amendment to remove intent language that would have eliminated the WWAMI program when the Operating Budget was on the House Floor.

Constituent Survey Results

Over two hundred West Anchorage community members responded to this year’s constituent survey. We had a steady flow of responses throughout February and early March, then we saw a significant drop off over the last two weeks. We will continue to accept paper surveys, and the online survey will shut down Monday, April 6th. To date, the results of the survey are as follows:

•    79% of respondents support discontinuing funds for the Juneau Access Road
•    75% of respondents support discontinuing funds for the Knik Arm Bridge
•    76% of respondents support discontinuing funds for the Ambler Mining Road
•    70% of respondents support discontinuing funds for the Susitna Watana Dam

•    44% of respondents support both the large diameter and small diameter natural gaslines

•    61% of respondents support increasing the Base Student Allocation so that public school funding keeps pace with inflation

•    77% of respondents support accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid

•    56.8% of respondents support airport expansion
•    38.1% of respondents support airport expansion, but are concerned about the coastal trail
•    23% of respondents do not believe airport usage will support runway expansion for 25 years or more

•    The top five legislative priorities respondents selected were: Reducing the costs of state government and making government more efficient, improving jobs and the economy, investing in public education, providing access to affordable healthcare, and public safety concerns.

With 16 days left in the 90 day legislative session, I will continue to use this information to guide my decision-making. Thank you to all who responded.

One Percent for Art

A bill has recently been introduced that removes the 1% for art provision for public facilities. In 1975, the Alaska Legislature passed the Percent for Art in Public Places statute requiring the expenditure of one percent of the capital construction costs of public buildings for the acquisition and permanent installation of artwork. The Percent for Art Program is managed in conjunction with the Department of Transportation to achieve the following objectives:

•    Provide access to works of art in public spaces;
•    Offer a variety of visual experiences in varied styles, methods, and medium to further humanize our man-made surroundings with the artistic statements of living artists;
•    Provide a supportive working environment and the opportunity for personal creative accomplishment;
•    Contribute to the development and recognition of a professional artistic community; and
•    Accomplish broad cultural goals by introducing new visual ideas to the general public.

This sculpture of the Northern Lights is a 1% for Art project that can be seen at Dowling and Lake Otis.
This sculpture of the Northern Lights is a 1% for Art project that can be seen at Dowling and Lake Otis.

The proposed bill does not provide any saving in the operating budget because it only impacts capital construction projects. With the likely limits on capital spending given our State’s financial challenges, there will be fewer capital projects that would benefit from the 1% for Art program. The Percent for Art statute requires that 1% of the existing construction budget be set aside for site-specific artwork in new or renovated buildings. One Percent for Art has benefitted from long-lasting, broad community support since its inception. Let us know if you think keeping this program should be a priority as we continue to review and analyze cuts to the State budget.

Community Events and Opportunities

There is a health fair April 11th at Willowcrest School in Spenard from 8am to 12pm.
There is a health fair April 11th at Willowcrest School in Spenard from 8am to 12pm.
View the entire schedule here.

Submit a poem to the Alaska Poem in Place competition, celebrating Alaska State Parks.
Submit a poem to the Alaska Poem in Place competition, celebrating Alaska State Parks.
Find out more information here.

As always, please let us know if you have suggestions or concerns.

signed: Matt Claman

    Rep. Matt Claman

    P.S. follow me on Facebook and Twitter

Contact Information

(907) 465-4919

Rep.Matt.Claman@akleg.gov

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 405
Juneau, Alaska 99801

www.repmattclaman.com

Contact the Governor

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/

State Info (907) 269-5111

Serving the Anchorage Neighborhoods of
Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain

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