March 17, 2017
Operating Budget Debate and Constituent Meeting
Rep. Kawasaki on the House Floor
Operating Budget Debate Continues
As it passed the House Finance Committee, of which I am a member, next year’s Operating Budget cut $61 million to agency operations from last year’s budget. The budget forward funds education for next year and guarantees a PFD of $1,150 for eligible Alaskans.
My colleagues and I in the Alaska House Majority Coalitionare proud to put forward a budget that protects the economy and essential services while reflecting priorities of Alaskans. We made responsible cuts, but recognize cutting too deep will kill jobs in all sectors and send the state into a deeper recession. The state has already cut more than $2 Billion in statewide operations in the last 3 years.
Last week, the House Finance Committee spent 3 days debating more than 300 budget amendments, even after members had the opportunity to submit amendments in every subcommittee. More than 130 amendments were introduced on the House Floor this week. The amount of time and state resources spent on the amendment process is unprecedented. The longer House Republicans stall the budget process, the closer they are to collecting higher per diem rates in special sessions. This filibuster drains state resources and disrespects the 90-day session voters approved in 2006.
Having chaired three subcommittees, I know the budget process was more open to dialogue and amendment proposals than ever before. Amendments were debated openly and were voted up or down. House members have now had 3 opportunities to find responsible budget reductions and programmatic improvements that won’t threaten Alaskans way of life or rights to quality education and public safety. The legislature has many important issues left to debate in only 31 days, including reducing costly oil subsidies, protecting the PFD, reducing energy costs, encouraging economic development and more.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the budget process moves forward.
March 29 Public Testimony Opportunity for Universal Pre-K
Rep. Kawasaki and Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon speaking on during a recent press conference
The House Education Committee will be accepting public testimony on HB 52 at the end of this month. This bill would provide statewide, universal pre-kindergarten to children ages 3-5 years. Early education doesn’t just improve the lives of children and ensure that they become more successful adults, it also saves the state money. For every 1 dollar the state invests in early education, we can expect to save 7 dollars long term by reducing costs for corrections, courts, and substance abuse treatment and public assistance programs.
You can call your local LIO to testify in the House Education Committee on Wednesday, March 29, beginning at 8am. You can also email your testimony directly to me at email@example.com.
Joint Armed Services Committee Meeting on March 23
I am proud to co-chair the Joint Armed Services Committee alongside Senator Mia Costello. We will be holding the first annual briefing from commanders of the Alaska National Guard, Air Force, Coast Guard and Army on Thursday, March 23 at 11:30am. You can watch live on akleg.gov if you’d like to learn more about recent and ongoing military activities and exercises going on in Alaska. Feel free to call my office for more information.
Mark Your Calendars for Constituent Town Hall Meeting!
I am hosting a constituent town hall meeting at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Chambers onSaturday, April 1, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. I will share more information as the date gets closer. Bring your comments, questions and concerns as your participation is essential to the legislative process. Food will be provided. Hope to see you there!
Outstanding Interior Alaskan Students
Over the last month, we have seen many students in Interior Alaska excelling in their academic and extracurricular pursuits. From Academic Decathlon competitions to award-winning sand and gravel mine designs, I am constantly impressed by the creativity and talent of our K-12 and University of Alaska Fairbanks students. Congratulations and keep up the great work!
As always, I am available for you anytime. Remember to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagramthroughout session and beyond.
Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,
Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks
P.S. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook Or Instagram.