From Sen. Bill Wielechowski <[email protected]>
Subject Voter Information, My Take on Ballot Measure 1, & The State of Alaska's Healthcare - October 2, 2020
Date October 3, 2020 1:42 AM
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October 2, 2020

Senator
Bill Wielechowski
State Capitol, Rm 9
Juneau, AK 99801
800-550-2435
907-465-2435
[email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
1500 W Benson #315
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-269-0120
Contact My Staff
Sonja Kawasaki
Chief of Staff
Office: 907-465-2435
[email protected]
Nate Graham
Legislative Aide
Office: 907-269-0120
[email protected]
Leighan Gonzales
Legislative Aide
Office: 907-269-0120
[email protected]
Contact Alaska's Federal Delegation
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Phone: 907-271-3735
Website [[link removed]]
Senator Dan Sullivan
Phone: 907-271-5915
Website [[link removed]]
Representative Don Young
Phone: 907-271-5950
Website [[link removed]]
Contact the Governor
Governor Dunleavy's Anchorage office may be reached at 269-7450, or e-mail him
at [email protected] [[link removed]]
Visit the state website
www.alaska.gov [[link removed]]
________________

Dear Friends & Neighbors,
We are about a month away from the November 3rd general election. The State has
began sending absentee ballots to voters and the deadline to register to vote is
fast approaching, and hear why I am supporting Ballot Measure 1. Please take a
minute to read through my latest newsletter.

I am honored to present the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment with a legislative
citation commending 30 years of service in Alaska and 80 years of service to the
United States.
2020 State & Federal Elections
If you're not registered to vote at your current address, the last day to update
your voter registration is this Sunday, October 4th. You can do so by clicking
HERE. [[link removed]]
If you voted absentee in the primary, remember that you must request an absentee
ballot for the General Election as well. In Alaska you can request an absentee
ballot for any reason. I've heard from many of you about your concerns about the
potential for COVID-19 transmission at the polling locations. I understand your
concerns; during this time it's important for all of us to weigh the risks to our
health and the health of our families and loved ones.
If you're worried about voting in-person in the upcoming General Election, or for
any reason need or want to vote without doing so at the polls, I encourage you to
vote with an absentee ballot. For more voting information and to request an absentee
ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election, where you will cast your vote
to elect your state legislators, U.S. congress members, as well as the President
and Vice President of the United States, please visit the Alaska Division of Elections
Website HERE. [[link removed]]
Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before the General Election Day of November
3rd, but with recent concerns over a reduction in resources to the U.S. Postal Service,
it's also important that you order and return your absentee ballot as soon as possible
to ensure your vote is counted.
You can also drop your absentee ballot in a secure drop box located at the Anchorage
Division of Elections Office at 2525 Gambell Street prior to the close of polls
on November 3rd.

My Support for Ballot Measure 1
The Fair Share Act
In a past newsletter I told you about my full support of Ballot Measure 1, the Fair
Share Act. I want to reinforce now how important passing Ballot Measure 1 is to
the future of Alaska.
Today the Legislature's nonpartisan Finance Director testified in a legislative
hearing that the state's current budget will be unsustainable beginning in just
the next fiscal year. The state is out of savings to dip into, and the current budget
is already one by which Alaskans have seen and experienced drastic cuts in the last
few years. We felt deep cuts to state programs and services we need and value, such
as funding for preschool and K-12 education, public safety, the University, the
Alaska Marine Highway System, Medicaid, maintenance, and capital projects--and of
course, your PFD, which was only $992 this year, but under the statutory formula
should have been about $3,000. Even at these reduced funding levels, the state
will see a $903 million deficit next year.
The Legislative Finance Director warned that in light of these dire fiscal circumstances,
the Legislature must consider revenue measures.
Most of you know how staunchly I defend your right to your PFD. Without new revenue,
I'm afraid that when the Legislature convenes to address next year's budget, the
PFD will be the first thing to go completely. I will fight hard to prevent that
but many in the Legislature do not agree with my views on preserving the PFD. Beyond
the PFD, the Legislature would still have to consider additional dramatic cuts to
state programs, probably eliminating wholesale many of them.
It's no coincidence that when the oil industry lobbied the Governor and Legislature
in 2013 for Senate Bill 21 (SB 21) to changethe state's previous oil tax structureto
their own benefit, and got it passed--we almost immediately began to experience
our fiscal problems, including cuts to the PFD. SB 21 implemented a tax system that
established historically low oil tax revenue for Alaska.
You may have seen signs opposing Ballot Measure 1 claiming that voting against it
will save the PFD and jobs for Alaskans. These statements are easy to refute.
The oil companies have supported cutting your PFD ever since the 1999 Advisory Vote
by Alaskans on whether to use the Permanent Fund to pay for government services.
Back then, the oil companies were the top contributors on the "Yes" effort to use
the People's Fund because they didn't want to be taxed. The people spoke up resoundingly
then at 83%, telling lawmakers to find another way to pay for government. And ever
since the oil industry got what it wanted in SB 21, you've lost nearly $7,000 to
PFD cuts because we do not have enough revenue.
And the oil industry promised Alaskans more jobs, more revenue, more investment,
and a growing PFD if we voted to keep their huge tax cuts during the SB 21 Repeal
vote in 2014. Four weeks after that election, BP laid off 475 Alaskans, and the
oil industry has since cut another 5,000 jobs-all while the percentage of nonresident
workers has increased. Investment at Prudhoe Bay dropped from $826 million per year
to $202 million. Within the first six months of the new tax law, state revenue dropped
$1.6 billion-even though the price of oil remained the same. In fact, under SB 21
we've actually seen a NEGATIVE oil production tax rate these last five years when
factoring in oil tax credits. And the PFD has been slashed while ConocoPhillips
has dramatically increased dividends to shareholders.
Ballot Measure 1 is a citizens' initiative that would increase Alaska's share of
revenues from the production of our own oil. It would only increase taxes on three
North Slope fields--which are some of theindustry's most profitable fields in the
world, and will continue to be even once the Fair Share Act passes.Ballot Measure
1 increases the gross minimum production tax for these three fields from 4% to 10%,
and it eliminates a tax credit for major producers which has lost the state over
$4.2 billion since their creation under SB 21 just six year ago.
Groups opposing Ballot Measure 1 have raised over $17 million so far--which has
mostly come from huge donations from ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Hilcorp, the
majorly profitable producers who would see their taxes raised. It's obvious why
they would put so much money to stop Alaskans from voting "Yes" on Ballot Measure
1--an investment of $17 million against the Fair Share Act could mean they get to
keep $1.1 billion instead of paying it to Alaska.
In the coming days and weeks you'll hear from industry supporters that oil taxes
are too complex for the people to decide and it should be done by the Legislature.
They misrepresent the truth--the Legislature has refused to take up oil taxes since
SB 21, which is why the citizens need to do it now. I have filed multiple bills
each year since 2013 to try to get the state its ownership share of the our oil
wealth. Those in positions of power have prevented me from receiving even one bill
hearing.
With our savings gone and huge deficits, Alaska cannot afford to simply give away
our resources like the current tax regime does. I'm not willing to consider other
revenue measures like a sales tax or personal income tax until we fix our abysmally
broken oil tax system. This is our oil, we deserve our share.
Have questions about the Fair Share Act? I'm happy to talk with you.

I had a great time fishing in Western Alaska Last week and landed this beautiful
Rainbow Trout!

2020 Alaska State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference
This week I participated in a virtual public panel with other legislators where
we shared our vision for the future of Alaska's healthcare policy. With Alaska in
a stage of fiscal uncertainty, without new revenue we won't be able to afford to
provide quality healthcare and related services to Alaskans who need them. With
the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting our lives, this is a critical time for Alaskans;
not only do they face severe economic distresses, but they shouldn't have to worry
about the costs of proper care for their health and wellbeing right now.
Due to the pandemic, Medicaid enrollment has jumped by 5% to nearly one in three
residents-232,735 participants as of August 31. With most of our children enrolled
in Denali KidCare and nearly a third of adult Alaskan enrolled in DenaliCare, Alaska's
economic recovery will depend on ensuring these programs are appropriately funded
to provide for families in need.
As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact my office
at 907-269-0120 or simply reply to this email.
Warmly,
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Sen. Bill Wielechowski | State Capitol | 4th Avenue & Main Street | Juneau | AK | 99801
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