June 22, 2016
Serving Midtown, Spenard, and UMed
716 W 4th Ave Suite 411
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Governor Bill Walker
Lt. Governor Byron Mallot
No News is Not Always Good News
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Unfortunately there is not much news to report. I wish I could tell you that the legislature finally came together to reform our oil and gas subsidies – establishing a more sustainable tax credit system that the state can afford amid low oil prices. I would like to say that we worked hard across party lines to put forth a sustainable, comprehensive and fair fiscal plan with all members on board. I wish every member who has been elected by Alaskans thought of those Alaskans and their families when making decisions. I can’t say these things because we didn’t reduce our oil and gas subsidies, and we didn’t establish a fiscal plan. It simply did not happen.
Because the Republican Senate leadership failed to put forth a bill that made substantial and reasonable changes to our oil and gas subsidies, I and several others were unable to lend support to other measures. When the first brick is inherently unsound, it’s foolish to lay others on top of it. If we had supported utilizing a portion of everyone’s PFD check to fund state government with the flawed oil subsidy structure in place your lost PFD money would most likely have gone to prop up the very subsidies we have been working to reduce. This is why the Governor has called us back for a fifth special session - to deal with these very items we should have been able to pass within the first ninety days. Now, in the midst of a fiscal crisis, the Republican leadership continues to stall, and rack up the bill. I am not hopeful that much will change in the fifth special session. I will continue to do what I can to insist we take decisive action to save our state from future credit downgrades, to change course before entering into a full-fledged recession, and to remind my colleagues that we must do our jobs, no matter how difficult to create a strong fiscal future for Alaska and to finally stop bleeding precious resources by funding all of these special sessions.
I wish I had better news. At the very least, what I can tell you is that you have my commitment.
I’m Berta and I’m still listening,
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.