Alaska’s future is bright if our Legislator’s support the Governor’s plan to gain stability under his PFD Endowment proposal.
We, the public, cannot offer the typical knee-jerk reaction to the “Don’t touch the PFD” that is so common. We must now use the wealth the state has accumulated to stabilize our future, avoid an immediate out migration and a deep recession. We must let our elected leaders know we won’t kill them at the polls (in the not too distant election) if they venture in – thoroughly vet the proposal, and bring this idea to fruition. It is time.
We need courageous leadership this legislative session to move forward to fiscal stability. Just because an election is coming up is no excuse to kick the can down the road, stick one’s head in a hole, and avoid doing something big. Think BIG.
I hope to see a robust discussion on the Governor’s PFD Endowment proposal – and all other potential revenue streams and budget cuts this session. I hope other Alaskans will join me in tuning into the televised sessions. I will be watching to see if our elected leaders stand up for Alaskans and face this crisis.
I can say Governor Walker has reached out in many forums to engage the public in the fiscal discussion and I think his Endowment proposal is brilliant. Now, the ball is in the Legislative court.
To address the future, we must get some answers in review of recent past acts and ask,“Alaska has been flush with money for years. What happened?”
Three bad things happened: (1) the passage of Senate Bill 21, (2) the $14M defeat of its repeal, and (3) the crash of oil prices.
Two good things happened: (1) the defeat of a too-friendly-with-the-oilies Governor was replaced in the last general election with (2) a true Alaskan, Governor Bill Walker. This general election only got the problem halfway fixed; now we must watch the incumbents in Alaska’s House and Senate this session and see if they act in the state’s best interests before discussion of the next election,
At the very least, the public deserves some discussion on the passage of SB21. It must be asked of incumbents who voted ‘yes’ on SB21: What were you thinking? Why were you so generous with the industry? Why weren’t you willing to just amend ACES? and most importantly, what are you going to do differently to fix things? A ‘yes’ on SB21 in and of itself does not make the incumbent a bad leader. Their answers as to ‘What were you thinking?’ is important. For your information, from the Journal Text, of 28th Legislature, ‘yes’ votes on sb21 were:
- 11 Senators: Kelly, Coghill, Bishop, Huggins, Dunleavy, Fairclough-McKinnon, McGuire, Meyer, Giessel, Dyson, and Micciche.
- 27 Representatives: Austerman, Chenault, Costello, Feige, Gattis, Hawker, Higgins, Holmes, Hughes, Isaacson, Johnson, Keller, LeDoux, Lynn, Millett, Munoz, Nageak, Neuman, Olson, Pruitt, Reinbold, Saddler, Seaton, Stoltze, Thompson, P. Wilson, and T. Wilson.
Alaskans get an explanation, and move on.
Right now, as we head into Session 29, we can observe and hope for leadership to emerge. Will glowing Leadership emerge and rise to the occation?Will our elected officials work in earnest with the Governor on the divisive issues such as the buyout of TransCanada shares and/or the PFD Endowment proposal? Or, will the GOP majority choose to obstruct and ignore the Governor – like they did last session on the Medicaid Expansion issue? Will they simply table any real work and drag their feet to avoid the hard issues because of the upcoming election? Will others in the body stand about quietly, putting up with this kind of arrogant political gamesmanship? Only time will tell. I’ll take good notes.
If small minds, and personal political agendas, are allowed to prevail in the upcoming session, the loud sucking sound of a leadership vacuum will only get louder.
It’s a leadership challenge. Stay tuned, Session 29 promises to be a good one.
LeadDogAlaska is written and published by Tara Jollie; long time state employee, Deputy Commissioner State Department of Labor; and Director, Community and Regional Affairs.
No more boom or bust/cc/2015
Published Frontiersman, Juneau Empire, and Fairbanks News Miner, Nov. 2015