Senator Berta Gardner

March 25, 2015

Share on Facebook
Visit my FaceBook page

Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed

State Capitol Bldg. Rm 9
Juneau, AK 99801
 
Phone: 907-465-4930
Call Me: 1-800-331-4930

Sen.Berta.Gardner@akleg.gov
alaskasenatedems.com/gardner
facebook.com/BertaGardner

Send a letter to the Alaska Dispatch News via e-mail letters@alaskadispatch.com

Governor Bill Walker
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7450
Gov.alaska.gov
 

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott
Anchorage Office
550 W. 7th Ave, Ste 1700
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-7460
LtGov.alaska.gov

Berta Voted Against School Bonds? Can it be True?

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Senator Gardner addresses the press corps Wednesday morning on Medicaid expansion and school bond debt reimbursement.
Senator Gardner addresses the press corps Wednesday morning on Medicaid expansion and school bond debt reimbursement.

Today, the Senate passed SB 64, putting a 5 year pause on the traditional state payments of 60% 0r 70% of school bond debt.  The bill has a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2015 and will impact bonds on the April 7th ballot in Anchorage.

The discussion has been impassioned,   with my closest Democratic colleagues opposing, while I supported the bill.  Their concerns were on two points.  First, the issue of fairness:  the 5 year hiatus  impacts Anchorage more than other communities because with a January 2015 effective date and a July 2020 sunset, we are effectively frozen for 6 election cycles instead of 5.  Second, they argued against interfering with an election which has already started.  Both of these are valid concerns.

My perspective is that we must acknowledge the bigger picture.  The fiscal situation we face cannot be overstated – we face a $3.5 billion deficit right now and if the price of oil stays depressed, it is only going to get worse!   I feel an obligation to students to do the right thing. In this case, to the extent we believe we can spend $35 million on education, I want that to go into direct classroom services across the state, rather than into buildings in Anchorage. Second, it isn't right for us to say, "Anchorage, you can have one more bite at the apple but every other community cannot."

Schools and education will continue to be my top priority. However, understanding the drastic cuts that the legislature is already making, especially to pre-k and to WWAMI (for medical students), cuts I certainly do not support, I feel the need to make the argument that we can and should postpone some construction bonds and focus on directing available funds into classrooms. This is where my heart is.

           I’m Berta and I’m still listening,

           If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office

signed: Berta


To unsubscribe from Berta's Briefings click here