March 4, 2020
  • Operating Budget Passed the House in Record Time
  • Alaska State House Passes HCR 13, Defending the Permanent Fund
  • Community Forum on Wildfire Prevention
  • Join Me for Coffee!
House of Representatives Passes the
Operating Budget in Record Time
Tuesday I voted to pass a $4.45 billion operating budget that flat funds Medicaid, Public Assistance, and Pioneer Homes. It invests in new state troopers, VPSOs, prosecutors, courts and the Marine Highway. We have made tough decisions and put continued downward pressure on the budget. Since FY2013, Alaska's budget has been reduced by $3.5 billion or 44%, but there are no more big cuts to be found as evidenced by the huge supplemental budget request made by Governor Dunleavy.
This operating budget is far from perfect, and frankly leaves much to be desired. It doesn't adequately fund education, the University, public safety, public health, and addiction treatment. If we are going to have a budget that adequately funds these needs, we will have to face the elephant in the room: our revenues have dramatically dropped since the passage of SB 21 in 2014. If we don't find additional revenue--and soon--we will see continued cuts to essential government services.
House Passes HCR 13, Committing to Protect the Permanent Fund
The most important we can do for our state's long-term fiscal health is to protect and grow the Alaska Permanent Fund for our children, our grandchildren, and their children. I dream of a day--not so far in the future--when the Permanent Fund will be worth over $100 billion and be enough to fund both dividends and the operating budget in full.
Monday, I was proud to vote for House Concurrent Resolution 13, affirming the House's commitment to protecting the Permanent Fund and the rules-based framework established in SB 26 which ensures that we spend no more than 5% of the 5-year average value of the Permanent Fund.
Protecting the Permanent Fund from overspending is important to our future. when we consider that the Statutory Budget Reserve fund (SBR) and the Constitutional Budget Reserve fund (CBR) have both been spent down significantly in recent years (see chart above). Between FY13 and FY19, the SBR value fell by $4.5 billion (96%). And the CBR value fell by nearly $11 billion (81.9%) despite the need for a 3/4 vote to do so.
We must protect the Permanent Fund in order to prevent it from being spent down in the same way.
Community Forum on Wildfire Prevention
Drought and high temperatures have greatly increased the chances of summer wildfires in Alaska. After a terrible fire season where homes, families, wildlife, and businesses were threatened, we need to reexamine our approach to responding to fires.
Join a panel of experts for a Community Forum on Wildfire Prevention in Anchorage on Thursday, March 5 from 5:30-7 pm in the Consortium Library, Rm 307 to hear about steps we can take-- both individually and as a community-- to prevent wildfires in Alaska this summer and beyond.
Join Me for Coffee!
Saturday, March 14th, 10 am - 11 am
Please join me for coffee on March 14th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church (located at 2311 Pembroke St.) to discuss the budget, legislation, and your ideas to make our community and our state the best we can be. You can RSVP on Facebookand feel free to invite your friends and family!
If you can, please bring non-perishable, dry, and canned foods to donate to the Immanuel Presbyterian food bank. I'll bring the coffee - you bring the questions!
As always, keep in touch!
Phone Number: (907) 465-4940