Rep. Scott Kawasaki

Share on Facebook   April 6, 2017

Senate Cuts Education and Public Testimony

Dear Neighbors,

Co-Chairs of Joint Armed Services Committee, Rep. Kawasaki and Sen. Costello, introduce the Alaska commanders of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard to the press.
Co-Chairs of Joint Armed Services Committee, Rep. Kawasaki and Sen. Costello, introduce the Alaska commanders of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard to the press.

Day 80 of 90

As the voter-approved legislative session winds down to its final days, “must-pass” legislation such as the budget and deficit reduction plans are still being vetted.

The Alaska House Majority Coalition was formed to end the legislative dysfunction and pass a comprehensive fiscal plan. We successfully passed a budget with responsible cuts to current spending. The coalition supports scaling back costly oil and gas subsidies, diversifying and stabilizing the state’s revenue stream and protecting the Permanent Fund Dividends forever. In fact, the Coalition’s fiscal plan is the only one that fully funds the budget and closes the budget deficit.

Meanwhile, plans proposed by the Senate Republicans drain state savings, implement unspecified and harmful cuts for years to come that would result in massive job losses across the board.

This is an historic year for Alaska. The legislature simply cannot stand by and risk plunging the state into a deep depression. I am optimistic we can overcome our differences and come to an agreement on the goal we were sent here to do: protect your future. Because of the complex, historic nature of the work before us, careful deliberation and negotiations are necessary.

Education Budget: Senate Edition

Rep. Kawasaki posing questions during House Finance Committee last week
Rep. Kawasaki posing questions during House Finance Committee last week

This week, the Senate Republicans proposed and passed a budget with drastic cuts to K-12 Education and the University of Alaska. These cuts include $69 million reduction to the Base Student Allocation and $22 million cut to the University of Alaska. These cuts are unacceptable and unjustified, as is the proposal to end the Alaska Performance Scholarship Program, which would impact 3,100 students.

I oppose the irresponsible cuts that would harm the future of our children. The budget I supported in the House fully funds Base Student Allocation and forward-funds public education for one year. This gives certainty to school districts and families who are already hurting from $118 million in cuts over the last 3 years alone.

The Senate Republicans also cut $22 million to the University of Alaska budget, on top of the $53 million in cuts in the last 3 years. The University estimates this could result in a loss of more than 900 employees and suspension or elimination of 50 programs across the state. These cuts will drive Alaskans out of state for quality higher education and directly impact the Fairbanks economy and local businesses who hire local graduates.

I have always envisioned a public University that grows our own future leaders and continues to draw talent to Alaska with a reputation of being world-class. This devastating cut is not the way to achieve that vision and puts the renowned UA system deeply at risk.

Public Testimony for SB 26: Permanent Fund Restructure

The Governor’s proposal for Permanent Fund restructure, SB 26, will be up for public testimony on Monday, April 10 from 4:00 to 7:00pm in the House Finance Committee.

The Senate passed this bill 12 to 8 and is not part of a fair and balanced plan. By itself, this bill would reduce the income of a family of four by $4,000, no matter if you make $25,000 a year or $350,000 a year. Senate Republicans want a cuts-only approach: cut your dividend, cut all levels of education from Pre-K to University, cut public safety and other essential services expected and demanded by Alaskans and families.

Please arrive at your local Legislative Information Office or call no later than 6:30. If you do not have an LIO where you are located, call (907) 465-4648 or email written testimony to housefinance@akleg.gov.

HB 204 and National Work Zone Awareness Week

Aptly timed during National Work Zone Awareness Week, my bill HB 204 moved from Transportation Committee and will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee next week. This is a simple bill that would add stationary road maintenance vehicles with flashing lights to the list of service vehicles that already require drivers to vacate the nearest lane or to slow down when approaching them, such as when police cars and ambulances are roadside. This bill would help avoid dangerous, unnecessary collisions, resulting in saving lives and thousands of dollars for both potential victims and the State. Please feel free to call my office at (907) 456-7423 if you have any questions.

As always, I am available for you anytime and will try to update you more frequently during the last 10 days of session. Remember to follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram throughout session and beyond.

Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,

[SIGNED]

Representative Scott Kawasaki
Alaska State Representative
City of Fairbanks

P.S. Follow me on TwitterFacebook Or Instagram.

As your Representative,
I am here to listen and help. Contact me anytime.

Rep.Scott.Kawasaki@akleg.gov
 
www.RepScottKawasaki.com
 
IN JUNEAU:
Phone: (907) 465-3466
FAX: (907) 465-2937
State Capitol Building
Juneau, AK 99801

IN FAIRBANKS:
Phone: (907) 456-7423
1292 Sadler Way
(AlaskaUSA Credit Building)
Fairbanks, AK 99701
 
Toll Free: (866) 465-3466

Voice your opinions!
Here are some ways to let your voice be heard regarding issues important to you.

Write a Letter to the Editor - submit up to a 350 word letter to the Fairbanks News Miner via their website:
http://newsminer.com

Contact the Governor
Governor Walker's Fairbanks office may be reached at 451-2920, or e-mail him. You can also visit the state website at alaska.gov

Contact your
Congressional Delegation

Senator Dan Sullivan
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 328
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(907) 456-0261 or Email

Congressman Don Young
100 Cushman St., #307
Key Bank Building
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701
(907) 456-0210 or Email

Senator Lisa Murkowski
Fairbanks Office:
101 12th Avenue, # 329
Fairbanks, AK 99701
907-456-0233 or Email