August 16, 2016
Incumbents running for re-election in 2016 like to blame Gov. Walker for everything from the fiscal crisis, raid on the PFD, to overblown government spending. And, paint themselves as not responsible. Baloney.
I do not agree that the baby should be thrown out with the bath water, but incumbents who blindly followed former Senator, then Governor, Parnell should get their walking papers. The story goes way back.
Alaskans can change out their Representatives this fall. If they know their Representative was part of, or silent on, the Parnell Shakedown via SB21, and the eventual Sell-Out of Alaska’s oil wealth, this election is your opportunity for change.
A good read from September 18, 2014, http://parnellshakedown.wordpress.com/. Excerpt follows:
BALLOTS MAY SEE BUDGET
Robert Kowalski, Daily News Juneau Bureau Staff
May 15, 1999
The Legislature moved closer to enacting a long-range fiscal plan Friday when the House and Senate Finance committees approved separate but similar measures to use Permanent Fund earnings to balance the budget.
Both proposals also would put the plans before Alaska residents for an advisory vote.
The full House and Senate could take up the respective measures today, with just five days remaining before the end of the legislative session.
”I think we’re on the road,” said Sen. Sean Parnell, an Anchorage Republican and co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. ”We’re working to get the advisory vote out, to get the involvement of Alaskans in this process.”
”I support this legislation not because I want to but because I feel I have to,” said Rep. Eldon Mulder, co-chairman of the House Finance Committee.
Both efforts are attempts to offset huge shortfalls in state revenue due to low oil prices and production, not just this year, but into the next two decades. If the Legislature approves a plan, it would have to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions.
As written, the House plan would cap dividends paid to Alaskans at $1,000 for each of the next three years. It also would combine the state’s budget reserve and earnings from the Permanent Fund into a new fund that would be drawn upon to help balance the state budget.
The House Finance Committee included a provision to put the plan before voters in a special election on Sept. 14.
The Senate Finance Committee version also calls for a special election that day, but would let voters vote ”yes” or ”no” on each of two options for a long-term state fiscal fix.
One of the options, proposed by Gov. Tony Knowles in January, would enact a state personal income tax to collect $350 million a year. The Knowles plan also would take $4 billion from the earnings of the Permanent Fund to help pay for state government next year and take a similar amount in 2010 and in 2020.
The second option, one proposed by Senate Republicans would, like the House version, combine the Constitutional Budget Reserve and earnings of the Permanent Fund and use that to pay annual dividends and some costs of state government.
Under that plan, dividends for each Alaskan would be about $1,700 this year and next. In subsequent years, the total paid for dividends would be equal to 2.75 percent of the market value of the Permanent Fund and its earnings. That would result in dividends of about $1,250 for each Alaskan in 2001, according to Senate Republicans.
The House and Senate plans assume there will be about $100 million in cuts to state spending over the next two years. They rely on about $100 million of new state revenue annually starting around fiscal year 2001 but don’t identify a source.
Knowles would prefer residents be given a chance to vote on just one long-range fiscal plan agreed upon by Knowles and the Legislature, said Jim Ayers, the governor’s chief of staff.
”There needs to be one plan and there needs to be one approach in terms of asking the public,” Ayers said Friday.
Parnell hasn’t ruled out putting one option on the ballot. ”I get concerned about whether it’ll be viewed as a choice,” he said.
Under the House committee’s version, the plan would take effect immediately and would trim this year’s dividend payments. The Senate plan wouldn’t take effect until after the vote.
Some members of the House Finance Committee voiced concerns about what the Legislature would do if voters rejected the proposal.
Dividends are paid in October. They are expected to be about $1,600 to $1,700 this year, without the plan.
”Were the voters to turn it down, we’d need to take action to reverse the action,” said Mulder, an Anchorage Republican.
Rep. John Davies, D-Fairbanks, said the Legislature would have to come back for a special session after the election if voters reject the House plan. He wondered how that would affect dividend checks to be paid the following month.
Mulder said more study is needed on that point.
Rep. Richard Foster, a Nome Democrat, voted against the House proposal, saying the dividend cut would hurt rural Alaskans worse than those in larger cities.
”This is the healthy urban Alaska bill,” he said. He added that if he tried to sell it in his district, “I would get threatened, spat at and even criticized.”
The Senate Finance Committee spent hours Friday working through details of what its ballot measure on the fiscal plan issue would say.
The committee narrowly defeated a proposal by Sen. Randy Phillips, R-Eagle River, that would have changed the ballot wording and required voters to choose between the Knowles plan or the Legislature’s, with no other option.
Sen. Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican, said he is concerned that an election that lets voters choose yes or no on both of two options could leave the Legislature with no clear direction.
If neither option wins a majority vote, “we will have wasted a year’s worth of debate,” he said.
A year’s worth of debate? That’s an understatement Senator Kelly!
Vote smart. It is important.
© Past policies have come to roost; August 16, 2016.