Leg with Louie: The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Our U.S. Senators were before the Alaska legislature this week to deliver their annual addresses and reassure Alaska that they are battling in the national fracas so our state is not steamrolled or otherwise transformed by the demands and philosophies of our lower 48 brethren.   

These annual addresses before the state legislature are by design parochial and inspiring, and full of omissions regarding the national trajectory. They shake pom-poms over the opening of ANWR, and don’t talk about the historic national debt caused by the tax vehicle it rode in on, and what that means for the United States.

In these addresses, the Alaska population is often transformed into National Superheroes of Energy Dominance and Military Tactical and Strategic Key Players, and Leaders at the Forefront of Tomorrow’s Economic Potential.

It is wonderful and transforming, and when it is all over the roads still need to be plowed, and the schools need to keep their lights on so the kids can learn stuff, and we have to figure out how to pay for it all, and the golden glow of our exceptionalism fades back into normal old February light and it is time to get back to work.    

There are mixed messages when it comes to how we do this work of getting to work. One group that represents work, Alaska Chamber of Commerce, recently sent out a press release applauding the Governor for “proposing a spending plan that matches current revenues.” This is strange stuff. A budget that will plunge the state into a long-term recession is terrible for business and work and workers who need work.

The business model under the Dunleavy plan ends Alaska Marine Highway Service, makes large parts of Rural Alaska uninhabitable due to high energy costs, pink slips hundreds of teachers, shuts down one or more University campuses, makes critical health care for vulnerable Alaskans unavailable, and turns the Pioneer Home system into a rich old people resort.

The Dunleavy budget, supported by the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce is not an adult budget or even an Alaskan budget.  It puts us well off track from the bright shining destiny described by our federal representatives. What it appears to be is the product of a corporate, partisan echo-chamber wishing above all to avoid discussing broad-based taxation and the adequacy of current corporate tax structures.  

Talk to you next week,

Louie Flora
Government Affairs Director

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Hearings to Watch this week

Monday, February 25, 9:00 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee:
SB 20 Operating Budget, Departmental Overview: Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Department of Administration, Department of Revenue, Office of the Governor

Monday, February 25, 1:00 p.m.
House Resources Committee:
Presentation from Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

Monday, February 25, 3:30 p.m.
Senate Resources Committee:

Tuesday, February 26, 9:00 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee:
SB 20 Operating Budget, Analysis by Legislative Finance Division

Tuesday, February 26th, 1:30 p.m.
House Finance Committee:
FY 20 Fiscal Overview, Legislative Finance Division

Tuesday, February 26th, 2:00 p.m.
Senate Finance Budget University Subcommittee:
FY 20 University Budget

Tuesday, February 26th, 3:30 p.m.
Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee: Presentation on 2020 Census

Wednesday, February 27th, 1:00 p.m.
House Resources Committee: Department of Natural Resources Overview

Thursday, February 28th, 1:30 p.m.
House Finance Committee:
HB 39 Operating Budget, HB 40 Mental Health Budget

Thursday, February 28th, 1:30 p.m.
Senate Transportation Committee:
Presentation, Alberta to Alaska Railway

Thursday, February 28th, 3:00 p.m.
House Health and Social Services Committee:
Presentation, Alaska Psychiatric Institute

Friday, February 29th, 1:30 p.m.
House Finance Committee:
HB 39 Operating Budget, HB 40 Mental Health Budget

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