Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The House has passed the operating budget on to the Senate. I am hoping that the Senate works quickly so that the Legislature can conclude session within 90 days.
Throughout our discussions on Alaska’s financial future, we’ve continued to hear a similar message from Alaskans around the state: Don’t mess with the PFD. The PFD is so important to Alaskan families, workers, and businesses, and I proudly co-sponsored the budget amendment that would have paid out the full dividend. Later there was a motion to rescind the amendment, and I voted against that motion. When the operating budget came up for a final vote, I voted against the budget because it did not have a full PFD. Also, while I do not believe we can solve our fiscal dilemma through cuts alone, there are still cuts that can and should be made. Instead of making cuts, this budget actually increased Governor Walker’s proposed budget.
I recently attended the Joint Armed Services Committee hearing, where we received updates on military activities in Alaska. Colonel Cory Mendenhall reiterated the strategic importance of Alaska in our ever-changing world. The Department of Defense spends $1.5 billion in Alaska each year. Moreover, 20% of Alaskans have personal ties to the military. I’m grateful for all that the military does to enhance the security and economy of Alaska.
As always, I am eager to hear from you. Please be in touch over the phone or via e-mail, and if you happen to come to Juneau, please stop by the Capitol.