Representative Geran Tarr

Share on Facebook   MARCH 24, 2017

“The Future Depends on What We Do in the Present.”

Mahatma Gandhi

 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Mahatma Gandhi’s words have resonated strongly with me this past week while defending the budgets of Alaska’s education and public welfare systems. Now is not the time to reduce the level of services we offer students, or lose teachers due to pink slips as the result of delayed school budgets. Nor is it the time to require an ever-shrinking police force to handle ever-increasing cases with diminished resources. 

Almost a month ago, I shared with you the Alaska House Majority Coalition’s Four Pillar Fiscal Plan. The pillars were: oil/gas reform; an income tax; protecting the dividend; and strategic cuts. Note the emphasis on strategic. 

Since 2015, the University of Alaska system has had its budget reduced by $45 million dollars, and there have been proposals to either cut or eliminate funding for pre-kindergarten grants and programs, and reduce teacher positions while increasing student class sizes. The Alaska State Troopers have reduced their staff by 32 positions while reducing their budget by over $10 million dollars. The Criminal Division cut prosecutors and their support staff by 31 positions and the Department of Law was forced to turn away almost 7,000 cases it otherwise would have prosecuted.  This means cases addressing domestic violence and sexual assault are not moving forward because they don’t have the resources.  How can our communities be safe if we can’t process the cases?

These are not strategic cuts, which is why the Alaska House Majority Coalition made sure that: 

  • Education is forward-funded by $1.7 billion dollars (no pink slips for teachers!); 
  • $ 49 million for school bond debt reimbursement is restored;
  • $ 1.2 million for pre-school is added in; and
  • Amendments that reduced the trooper force, VPSOs, and correction officers did not pass.

It is important to note that because the U-Med Northern Access Road was defunded, we were able to reallocate at least $17million, which would have gone towards the construction of a $35 million dollar road 7/10th of a mile long, to support the future path to an strong and supported public education system for our Alaskan children.  


Also on the topic of public safety and health, I would like to thank Governor Walker for raising awareness on Alaska’s opioid addiction crisis. 

“When earthquakes, fires or floods claim lives and property on a large scale, a declaration of disaster is issued to prioritize the state’s response. This is no different. We must stop this opioid epidemic. My order ensures that our resources are properly allocated to tackle this challenge. However, this is only the first step. It provides a temporary solution; we must work on a long-term fix.”  -Governor Walker 

Finding a long-term fix for Alaska's opioid epidemic is only one of many reasons why continued funding for social services and public safety is so important. And in order to find these solutions, we need an educated and supported population living in our state, which is why sustained funding for education is so important. 

To reiterate Gandhi’s words but in the context of our state: “The future of Alaska depends on what we do in the present to protect and nurture this Great Land.” 

Sincerely,

signed: Geran Tarr
Representative Geran Tarr

PS. I hope to see you at this tomorrow’s constituent meeting! Senator Begich and I are teaming up Saturday to hear any of your ideas, concerns, issues, priorities—your name it!

I hope to see you at this tomorrow’s constituent meeting! Senator Begich and I are teaming up Saturday to hear any of your ideas, concerns, issues, priorities—your name it!

MY OFFICE

SESSION
State Capitol Bldg. Room 126
Juneau, AK 99801
P (907) 465-3424 F (907) 465-3793

INTERIM
1500 W Benson Blvd, Rm 229
Anchorage, AK 99503
P (907) 269-0144 F (907) 269-0148

Rep.Geran.Tarr@akleg.gov
http://www.repgerantarr.com/
http://www.facebook.com/geran.tarr

Celeste Novak, Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-3424
Celeste.Novak@akleg.gov

Thatcher Brouwer, Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-3424
Thatcher.Brouwer@akleg.gov

Magdalena Oliveros, Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-3424
Magdalena.Oliveros@akleg.gov

  MY DISTRICT

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CONTACT THE GOVERNOR

550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 269-7450 F (907) 269-7461
EMAIL: Governor Bill Walker

STATE of ALASKA
http://alaska.gov/

State Info (907) 269-5111

 

  D.C. DELEGATION

Senator Dan Sullivan
510 L St, Ste 750
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (202) 224-3004
EMAIL: Sen. Dan Sullivan

Senator Lisa Murkowski
510 L Street, Suite 600
Anchorage, AK 99501
T (907) 271-3735 F (877) 857-0322
EMAIL: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Congressman Don Young
4241 B Street, Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99503
T (907) 271-5978 F (907) 271-5950
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young