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March 22, 2019
Speak Up in Favor of a Responsible Budget
As we stare down some huge budget decisions, it’s important that we know and understand what the people of Alaska want. The House Finance Committee is holding a series of public meetings this weekend across Alaska to get input about the state budget. It’s important to take the time to speak up for a responsible state budget that funds the education of our children, protects the jobs of our fellow Alaskans, and ends the recession that has been dragging down our economy.
House Finance Committee Public Meetings:
JUNEAU: Friday, March 22 from 5-8 p.m. in Room 519 of the Alaska State Capitol, 120 4th Street;
KETCHIKAN: Saturday, March 23 from 12-3 p.m. at the Ted Ferry Civic Center, 888 Venentia Avenue;
MAT-SU: Saturday, March 23 from 12-4 p.m. at the Mat-Su LIO, 600 E. Railroad Avenue, Wasilla;
BETHEL: Saturday, March 23 from 2-5 p.m. at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, 401 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway;
SOLDOTNA: Saturday, March 23 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center, 538 Arena Avenue;
ANCHORAGE: Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the Anchorage LIO, 1500 W. Benson Boulevard;
SITKA: Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the Centennial Hall Assembly Chambers, 330 Harbor Drive; and
FAIRBANKS: Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the Fairbanks LIO, 1292 Sadler Way, Suite 308.
Note: All the meetings will be broadcast live via akleg.gov and will be saved on the Alaska Legislature’s website.
Special Interest Group Organizes Gov. Dunleavy Roadshow
On Monday, Governor Dunleavy announced a statewide roadshow to discuss his fiscal plan and budget proposal that cuts education and economic opportunities for our state. The meetings were billed in an official press release as a series of community-focused discussions and meetings to outline a permanent fiscal plan for Alaska. What the Governor didn’t put into his press release and what we only found out by some great local reporting is that the meetings are being organized and controlled by the Koch brothers funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP).
The fact that these meetings are organized and controlled by an outside special interest group calls into question who the governor works for. Is he working on behalf of the people of Alaska or is he working for Americans for Prosperity and other groups? The governor should be serving the people of Alaska, not some outside, big money, special interest group.
While these privately financed quasi-public meetings may be technically legal, this is wrong. According to news media reports, Americans for Prosperity gets to decide who gets in the door while also prohibiting political statements and signs. Alaskans are not allowed to “record, reproduce or transmit” any portion of the event without their permission, but Americans for Prosperity can use your image, testimony, and video from the event in their political advertising. Because of these rules, the press will not be able to report to the rest of Alaska what happened accurately. A public meeting is not really public when you have to give up your rights to free speech to get in the door.
I add my voice to the growing chorus of Alaskans calling on the Governor to make the upcoming meetings truly public by removing Americans for Prosperity from the process. Short of that, I hope Alaskans show up in force and refuse to be silent. Here is a list of upcoming meetings:
Monday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Cannery Lodge in Kenai;
Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at the 49th State Brewery in Anchorage;
Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m. at the Old St. Joseph’s Hall in Nome;
Thursday, March 28 at 6 p.m. at the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks; and
Friday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at Everett’s in Wasilla.
Rallies for the University of Alaska and the Alaska Marine Highway System:
This week, Alaskans converged on the Capitol Steps in Juneau to oppose the irresponsible budget cuts proposed by Governor Dunleavy to the University of Alaska and the Alaska Marine Highway System.
On Monday, the University of Alaska Coalition of Student Leaders held a rally on the Capitol Steps opposing the Governor’s dangerous $134 million cut to the University of Alaska. On Wednesday, the Alaska Public Employee Association rallied to save the ferry system, which would be crippled by the governor’s proposed 75 percent cut.
Rallies like these are vitally important to show the governor and the members of the Alaska Legislature that a budget is more than just numbers on a page. A budget is a living document that represents the values of the people. This week’s rallies show the importance of a strong University of Alaska and Alaska Marine Highway System to the people of Alaska.
PFD Filing Deadline is Coming Up on March 31st
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