Legislative Report newsletter masthead
June 16, 2017 
Legislative Report newsletter masthead

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davidguttenberg
 

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last night, in an attempt to compromise with the Senate, the House passed out an amended version of the operating and capital budget and adjourned. These amendments included:

  • Restoring the PFD to $2000
  • Full funding for K-12 and
  • A $3 million reduction to the University of Alaska system instead of the Senate’s drastic  $22 million cut
  • The Senate’s $15 million cut to Medicaid
  • Elimination of the Senate’s proposed $288 million in cash subsidies for oil companies

Our coalition knew we needed to act now, not later, and get a budget on the Senate’s desk. By passing the budget we fulfilled our constitutional obligation and averted a government shutdown. We could not allow the clock to run out on Alaskan’s time. This morning, the Senate convened, did not vote on the budget we gave them, and adjourned. The Governor then called us back into another special session to work solely on the operating budget.

As the special session went on, it became increasingly clear that the Senate did not want to negotiate with the House on a comprehensive fiscal plan. They want to let oil keep their hold on Alaska and keep having a crisis each and every year. They did not want to increase revenue and stabilize our economic future. According to this morning’s actions, they did not want to compromise. They would not even vote on a budget that resembled the same fiscal plan they had been advocating for all session.

I absolutely do not want a budget only plan, but I also cannot let the Senate cut Alaskans’ dividends while we pull money from the same fund and give it to oil companies. Alaskans, not oil, are my priority.

I would also like to clarify that passing the budget last night was not an exit strategy- it was a jumpstart to the stalled budget process. While I am disappointed the Governor only included the operating budget in the call, I hope that we will still be able to pass a comprehensive fiscal plan. It is what Alaska needs.

Best Regards,

[signed] David Guttenberg

Ester, Goldstream 1 & 2, Steese East/Gilmore, Steese West, and University Hills