There was a time in Alaska when leadership was seized by those who had inexhaustible enthusiasm and strong motivation to address the challenges faced by our state.
Today, our leaders face demands — financial, social and educational — that are daunting. Now, more than ever, is the time for Alaskans to step up and join together to address our state’s challenges and seize our opportunities.
The US Supreme Court Ruling is a Big Win for State’s Rights
In a 4-4 tie, the US Supreme Court struck down President Barack Obama’s immigration plan, an executive order which would have given millions of illegal immigrants work permits. The court’s ruling affirms that the president overstepped the powers granted him by the US constitution.
The Fitch Ratings downgrade of Alaska’s credit rating last week was no surprise. Once again, the Legislature and Governor have failed to deliver a sustainable state budget. Instead, they continue to falsely claim that significant budget cuts have been made in order to convince the public to allow politicians access to the Permanent Fund in order to fund big government.
Thousands of Alaskan families likely breathed a sigh of relief May 31 when the legislature passed its budget to avoid a government shutdown less than 24 hours before the deadline to issue layoff warnings. Last year, pink slips did go out. Nothing has been done yet this year to ensure we don’t repeat this next year.
Once again, the legislature voted to balance the budget by drawing down the constitutional budget reserve. In just two years, we will have drawn $7.6 billion from savings.
The State House and Senate just passed the Conference Committee Operating Budget bill and, to no surprise, it reveals that little progress was made to reduce the cost of State government. Despite continued claims of significant operating budget cuts, the budget numbers published by the Legislative Finance Division tell a different story: (http://www.legfin.state.ak.us/BudgetReports/LY2016/Operating/SelectBudge...).
As a mother and grandmother and through my work with foster youth and the Alaska Children’s Trust, I have realized that few things are of higher priority to me than the safety and well-being of our youth and families.
Pomp and Circumstance has stopped playing as the graduation season has ended. Occasionally, I still hear a few measures rattling around in my brain so that only leads to the notion that I also have a few musings about graduation to mutter.
Since the usual tradition of me writing about graduation was forgone this year due to a choice to focus solely on my own son’s graduation (way to go Ian R. Armstrong, you are rocking awesome!), I guess instead of featuring the accomplishments of this year’s crop of seniors, I get to make a few comments.
As the Legislature nears the end of the constitutional 120-day session, I am gravely concerned about the possible outcome.
Our state is in a difficult fiscal position. Due mainly to world oil prices and our over-dependence on oil, we have only about one-fifth of the revenue we need to balance the budget. And that’s after several years of budget cuts and almost no capital investment.