Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: February 14th Update From Juneau

Rep. Wool Newsletter

I hope everyone is having a great winter. It’s warmer but rainier here in Juneau – I miss Fairbanks even this time of year. I appreciate the weekends I’ve been able to come home. I’ll be sending an update on legislative efforts to solve Alaska’s budget crisis soon. In the meantime I want to inform you about activities in the committees I chair and co-chair.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Legislature Must Address Alaska’s Budget Crisis This Session

Rep. Wool Newsletter

This session I’m proud to be part of the new Alaska House Majority Coalition that includes Democratic, Republican and Independent legislators. The Majority formed around the consensus that the Legislature must pass a budget plan THIS year. Alaska cannot afford to wait another year. No one knows what form a budget plan will take, but I’ll be working to ensure it is fair and equitable to all Alaskans; and of course keep you informed on developments as the legislative session progresses.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Breaking Records, and Not The Good Kind

Rep. Wool Newsletter

I’m writing to you on the second day of the fifth special session. We’re breaking records now…and not the good kind. This is the first time in Alaska’s history that there’s been five special sessions in a legislative term. Governor Walker called this special session to consider many of the proposals that didn’t pass during the last special session, including a bill seeking to withdraw money from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve to fund the state budget, bills that would implement an income tax, sales tax, and increases in the motor fuel, mining, fisheries, alcohol, and tobacco taxes, and reconsideration of parts of our oil and gas tax credit system.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: It feels like déjà vu around here…

Rep. Wool Newsletter

I’m writing you from Juneau again, and it feels like déjà vu – we’re here past our 90 day limit again. In many ways I’m not surprised, as we’re talking about a lot of major issues this year: restructuring the Permanent Fund, income or sales taxes, reforming our oil tax credits, making significant changes to our Medicaid program, and an overhaul of our crime laws. I hoped we could finish in 90 days, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I am committed to staying as long as it takes to craft a real solution, because we cannot afford to kick the can down the road another year. My goal has always been to support a long term, comprehensive fiscal solution, and I spoke about that at a press conference earlier this month.

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Join Me for Pad Thai and Politics on Sunday!

Rep. Wool Newsletter

It’s that time of year again! I will be back home in Fairbanks this weekend and I want to see you and hear your ideas about the budget, education, and other important issues facing the Legislature. On Sunday (March 20), I will be holding my second annual Pad Thai and Politics lunch from 1 to 3 PM at Lemongrass Thai Cuisine (388 Old Chena Pump Rd) in Chena Pump Plaza. We had a great time last year, and this year should be even better! I will be providing Thai food, and I hope you will bring your ideas and concerns (and of course your appetite!).

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Rep. Wool’s Newsletter: Testify on the Budget Tomorrow!

Rep. Wool Newsletter

I was disappointed that on Wednesday, my colleagues, with the exception of Rep. Andy Josephson, on the University budget subcommittee voted for devastating cuts to the University of Alaska budget. These cuts could cost hundreds of jobs and have a drastic effect on our economy. I supported an amendment from my colleague Rep. Josephson to bring funding back to the governor’s requested level and I introduced amendments to restore funding for research, the Museum of the North, and the University Fire Department. Unfortunately Rep. Josephson and I were outvoted on all these amendments. I also spoke about how in tough economic times, it’s especially important to make sure we are supporting our University.

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