Note from Rep. Gara: In-State Gas: Expensive and Not Yet Time to Pull Plug on Potentially Cheaper, Better Options

Do you want to be bound, by contract, to pay natural gas prices that are double what is paid in the Lower 48 – for the next 20 or 30 years? How’s that for attracting business to Alaska? How’s that for your pocketbook? The folks who held the press conference on Tuesday didn’t mention any of that, did they? Unfortunately, the gasline debate has devolved into competing sound bites. Those pushing the project want you to think the lights will go out tomorrow if you don’t do what they propose. It’s bad policy to scare people into ill-advised projects. Frankly, the sound bites on all sides are pretty trite – because this issue is too difficult to discuss in accurate sound bites.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Special Edition: Goods and Bads of Yesterday’s Budget Vetoes

I hate writing letters two days in a row. But important things have happened two days in a row.

I thought you’d like a rundown of the Governor’s veto decisions. First, let me say that I saw unjustified pork in some of the projects, and thought the budget was too big, so I voted against it. I voted against a $3.2 billion budget, because we have priority services and a need for savings. On the other hand, I can’t fault many of those who voted for the budget. It included some important energy projects to reduce energy costs – projects I defended publicly. It included home energy efficiency upgrade funds (which I voted for as an amendment), and some other priorities I helped get in the budget. So I’d say this: The budget, in my mind, was too big. I agree with the Governor there. But I would have chosen different projects to veto.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Lucy & The Football, Again: Special Session Failure Will Hurt Alaskans.

I’m not a big fan of failure, and not a big fan of spending money on wasted Special Sessions. I’ve now voted three times, including yesterday, to pass the Coastal Zone Management bill that passed the Bi-Partisan Senate Monday, but surprisingly failed by three votes in the House yesterday. Failure to pass the bill gave away a big piece of state sovereignty to the federal government.

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Note from Rep. Gara: Pre-Saturday Rapture?!?!, Post-Unspecial Session Newsletter

You were probably as surprised as I was to wake up and find out there’s a guy in Florida who says the rapture will be tomorrow. I guess I always thought I’d get more notice before the end of the world.

I owe you a post-session e-news, and given what might happen tomorrow, I don’t think I have any more time to procrastinate on this. Though it would be nice to get more notice next time if this guy is wrong, like he was in 1994. I’d like to have my house and chores in order before an apocalypse. But I guess, so would everyone else.

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