|Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain|
|July 15, 2016
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we try to work together to solve our challenges at home, we are saddened by another senseless attack, this time on Thursday evening in Nice, just one week after the attack on police officers in Dallas.
My heart goes out to all whose family and loved ones were killed or injured. Our thoughts are with the people of France and the people of Dallas.
End of the Second Special Session
Earlier this week, the Speaker of the House invited the Senate to meet for a joint session to potentially override Governor Walker’s budget vetoes. The Senate declined that invitation and the House adjourned from the second special session earlier this afternoon. We expect the Senate to adjourn on Monday.
Yesterday, Governor Walker held a press conference to discuss the financial challenges Alaska faces and will continue to face if we do not move forward with a responsible action plan. The Governor referenced a recent report released by David Teal, Legislative Fiscal Analyst, in which he writes: “Alaska is in the midst of the gravest fiscal crisis in state history: FY16 and FY17 revenue is expected to cover less than 30% of annual expenditures, leaving fiscal gaps that are too large to fill with sustainable draws from reserves.” The report provides a set of facts intended to enlighten the debate about the magnitude and causes of the state’s financial challenges. During the press conference, Governor Walker acknowledged that his proposals to fix Alaska’s $3.2 billion budget gap appear unlikely for this special session, and will likely not be addressed again until after the November election.
Governor Walker, like many Alaskans, is discouraged. The Governor proposed a comprehensive financial plan in December 2015, and no one has proposed an alternative plan. The legislature adjourned from the first special session without passing a comprehensive financial plan. In the second special session, the legislature again declined to approve a comprehensive financial plan. According to Governor Walker, if the legislature continues to draw down the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) and the Earnings Reserve without restructuring the Permanent Fund, we will eliminate all of our savings and Permanent Fund Dividends will be gone by 2020.
While we may have enough savings to get by for a year or two, financial analysts agree that we can’t continue to draw down our savings and expect to pay for state services in the future. Governor Walker is the only one that has come forward with comprehensive financial plan that includes cost savings, new revenue, and restructuring the Permanent Fund. A comprehensive financial plan calls on every Alaskan to help grow down the deficit. West Anchorage constituents have repeatedly told me we can’t kick the can down the road, and that is why I continue to support a responsible action plan for Alaska.
Tragedy in Dallas, Louisiana, and Minnesota
As Americans, we are all troubled by the violence that has occurred in recent weeks and months. As President Obama noted in his remarks at the police memorial service in Dallas, we are at a critical moment in our country’s history. Since the 1950’s and the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, we have made much progress addressing issues of race and justice in our nation, but we have a long way to go and much to learn. We are troubled by the recent shootings by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, and we are equally troubled by the calculated attack on the police officers in Dallas. On Monday, on the House floor, I discussed the recent violence and asked us to remember the victims and their families. (You can watch the video here, starting at 29:25). My thoughts are with the Dallas police officers and their families. We must never forget that all people are precious.
Rep. Matt Claman
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