Representative Matt Claman's Alaska Matters
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Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain
June 11, 2015
In this issue:
• Budget conclusions
• Governor Walker’s fiscal policy conference
• Community events and opportunities

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

After weeks of negotiations, the House and Senate finally passed budget bills this afternoon that ended the second Special Session of the 29th Alaska State Legislature. Additionally, the Senate passed “Erin’s Law,” also known as the Alaska Safe Children’s Act, which I was pleased to support in the House. Throughout these challenging times, I have continued to prioritize: investing in public education, building a strong economy, honoring our commitments, and improving access to health care for all Alaskans.

Budget Conclusions

The budget passed today by the House and Senate is very similar to the budget compromise that the House passed over a week ago, but the Senate did not to agree with. The budget includes funding for programs that benefit all Alaskans and represents a 9.1% overall cut from last year’s budget:

HB2001 bill letterhead

•  $16.5 million restored for public education to the Base Student Allocation (BSA)
•  $30 million to protect previously-negotiated contracts and cost of living adjustments for State employees
•  $2 million to support Pre-K and early education
•  $2.5 million for front line social workers in the Office of Children Services
•  $2.8 million for senior benefits and assistance programs for our lowest income seniors
•  $1.75 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System
•  $5 million for the University of Alaska
•  $250,000 for public broadcasting 

At the beginning of the budget process, the House made a 5% cut to the Governor’s proposed budget. From there, the Senate made even deeper cuts, including a $47 million reduction to the Base Student Allocation. Most Alaskans and legislators believe that we need to cut State spending and, at the same time, move carefully so that we do not cut so much we send our local economy into a tail spin. I don’t want to see Alaska go in the opposite direction from the national economy, which is finally recovering from the 2008 recession with strong markets, low unemployment, and increasing high school graduation rates.

Ultimately, I was a “yes” vote on the budget for the 2016 fiscal year. This budget represents a bi-partisan piece of legislation which includes compromises from the House Majority, the Senate Majority, and the Independent Democratic Coalition. I remain disappointed that the Republican Majorities refused to include Medicaid expansion as part of the budget and to allow a floor vote on the Governor’s Medicaid expansion and reform bill. I heard overwhelmingly from West Anchorage residents and Alaskans across the state who support Medicaid expansion, and I will continue to work to ensure all Alaskans receive access to affordable healthcare. I am optimistic that Governor Walker will exercise his executive authority to accept Medicaid expansion. Both the Attorney General and the Legislative Legal Department believe the Governor can accept Medicaid expansion, and the Alaska Constitution does not allow the Legislature to block the Governor’s action.

Governor Walker’s Fiscal Policy Conference

As the 29th Alaska State Legislature concludes, the conversation about next year’s budget must begin. Last weekend, Governor Walker hosted a fiscal policy conference where various revenue generating mechanisms were discussed. The Legislature and the Governor, organizations like the Rasmusson Foundation and UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, and the people of Alaska will continue to discuss Alaska’s long term budget outlook. I believe we must work together to develop a long-term fiscal plan for our State. Below is a screenshot of a model that you can download and use to manipulate the state’s budget to evaluate various revenue streams.

Click here to download the budget model and for more information about the fiscal policy conference.
Click here
to download the budget model and for more information about the fiscal policy conference.

Community Events and Opportunities

Join the Anchorage Park Foundation for the 2015 Park Founders Day Celebration!
Join the Anchorage Park Foundation for the 2015 Park Founders Day Celebration!
  
Join Mayor-Elect Ethan Berkowitz at community meetings throughout the month of June!
Join Mayor-Elect Ethan Berkowitz at community meetings throughout the month of June!

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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