By Rep. Lora Reinbold

House District 14

The conversation around the state budget hasn’t been exactly truthful. The “cuts” have been exaggerated in an attempt to gain public support for “revenue options”, i.e. taking your money!

Happy New Year!

We hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season and are ready for all that 2017 has in store.

The past 12 months have gotten a pretty bad rap lately. In fact, if you ask the Internet you’ll likely find thousands of memes and millions of tweets calling 2016 the “worst year ever.”

Donald Trump’s speech in Arizona has occasioned wailing and rending of garments among the commentariat and “respectable” people everywhere. At bottom, the cause of the freakout is simple: Trump believes in immigration laws, and the country’s elite really doesn’t.

Minus a few trademark excesses that are too ingrained in the Trump shtick to abandon at this point — e.g., we are going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it — Trump’s speech was rock-solid on policy.

Is there such a thing as a tea party Libertarian?

We’re about to find out.

Joe Miller last week threw his hat in the ring for the U.S. Senate race — his third try for the seat and second run against U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Miller upset Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary election, leading to Murkowski’s historic write-in victory in the general election.

In 2014, he lost in the Republican primary to Dan Sullivan, who went on to defeat incumbent Mark Begich, a Democrat.

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.

Here are the effects:

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.