Dear Friends and Neighbors,
THE HOUSE PASSES THE BUDGET
Monday the House passed its version of the 2018 operating budget and it now goes to the Senate.
The budget process this year was open and transparent. I chaired three finance subcommittees this session: Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development; Department of Natural Resources; and the University. For the first time the meetings were broadcast on 360north.org and were archived for the public to gain better access to the process.
ON THE FLOOR…
The University is an asset to our state and a valuable resource to create revenue and lead the world’s effort on arctic research that’s taking place alongside the changing climate. I worked hard to find opportunities for savings and drafted language directing the University to prioritize academics.
On the floor, I passed language regarding the privatization of engineering jobs at the Department of Transportation. It is important that we more closely examine the effects that privatizing an industry might have on both the work product and the economy. I want to make sure jobs stay in our state, and aren’t outsourced to companies in the Lower 48.
I have continued fighting for adequate broadband throughout all of Alaska. I put language in the budget assigning the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to examine broadband and its implementation across our state.
The Operating Budget is now being worked on by the Senate, where it will most likely make its way to conference committee. Since FY 2013, the budget has been cut $3.5 billion. There is only so much that we can cut before we send our state into a deeper recession.
PUBLIC TESTIMONY THIS SATURDAY
This week the House Finance Committee will be hearing public testimony on:
HB 111: Oil and Gas Tax Credits
I urge you to call in or email with your thoughts, ideas, or concerns.
Testify in person or on the phone: Limited to 2 minutes each. Arrive to the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office next to Home Depot at 1292 Sadler Way, or call 453-4448 to expedite the sign-in process. Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the end of the allotted time period or testimony may close early. If you are a member of a group with the same message, in the interest of time, please select a spokesperson to testify for the entire group.
Email Testimony: If you live in a community with a legislative information office, but are unable to access it during the specified time period, you may send your written testimony to the House Finance Committee via email@example.com through 5:00 p.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017.