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Note from Rep. Les Gara
Note from Rep. Les Gara  
Are You Earthquake Prepared? Some Useful Safety Tips
Note from Rep. Les Gara

February 2, 2016

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

A Few Words on Budget Plan Talks, and Preventing a Road To A Recession

Every day I talk to legislators in both parties to see if we can build a bi-partisan fiscal plan.  I’m trying to keep things calm.  I’m trying not to say “no,” even to proposals that cause me concern.  A fair compromise will have to include elements most members don’t love.  Compromise involves principled give and take.  I’m listening to everyone’s ideas, and hoping enough members of the Republican majority will also be willing to put together a balanced, fair, bi-partisan fiscal plan.  This is not a year for partisanship.  And it is not a year for corporations that enjoy major tax loopholes that argue that only others should chip in.  For example, today most corporations making over a quarter million dollars in profit a year in Alaska are exempt from the state’s 9.4% corporate tax.  They want to keep that exemption.  Oil company representatives want to keep their loopholes – loopholes that have all oil fields after 2002 currently enjoying a 0% Production Tax.  Everyone, even those most able to help, want someone else to pay, and those able to afford lobbyists want most of the money to come from those least able to pay.  We have a lot of work to do because a balanced plan that is fair to all means not just rewarding those with the loudest lobbyists.

How to Unwisely Create a Recession 101 (Yes – I’m getting to Earthquake Safety Precautions In A Few Paragraphs)

I do worry that this legislature, if it does things wrong, will cause a recession and harm the economy.  Legislators need to be careful not to burn the economy to the ground.  The road to a recession has less to do with raising revenue this year – though we should do that with only two or three years of savings left – than it does with slash and burn, overbroad budget cuts and layoffs.  The Republican majorities have indicated they will cut the same amount of jobs and services with or without the passage of revenue bills.  That’s a danger.

Cutting waste is one thing.  Cutting the heart out of job opportunity, and the economy is another.  A memo and article by economist Gunnar Knapp at the Institute of Social and Economic Research explains this​ When you cut troopers, road maintenance staff, educators, construction workers and those who perform needed services through state grants, those cuts lead to fewer people to shop at local stores, fewer people to buy homes, and an economic spiral of lost private sector business and other jobs.   That’s how you create a recession – by laying off too many people.  Sloppy cuts to basic services, and creating lines of people without jobs, causes recessions.  We should cut waste with a scalpel, and not cut needed services with a bludgeon. 

I Know, I said This Was an Earthquake Preparedness E-News. 

Last week we got lucky.  A 7.1 magnitude earthquake was deep enough below ground level that no one got hurt.  The Municipality of Anchorage has put out a primer on what food, water, and plans people should have to prepare for a bigger earthquake.  Unfortunately, Alaskans live in earthquake country, and we should all be prepared to protect ourselves and our families.

This Municipality link has links within it on food storage, and other useful tips.  Read it.  Use it.  Protect yourself and your loved ones.  Earthquake Preparations

As always, call if you have questions or thoughts you’d like to share, or if we can help.

Gotta run back to meetings, hearings and work.

My Best,

[signed] Les Gara


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