February 2, 2021
State Capitol, Rm 9
Juneau, AK 99801
1500 W Benson #315
Anchorage, AK 99503
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Chief of Staff
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Governor Dunleavy's Anchorage office may be reached at 269-7450, or e-mail him at [email protected]
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Dear Friends & Neighbors,
Tuesday, January 19th was the 1st day of the 32nd Alaska Legislature. We are back in Juneau this session with rigorous testing policies and safety protocols in place to ensure we can safely serve Alaska during this unprecedented time. Though the Capitol Building is not currently open to visitors, please know your calls and Zoom meeting requests are always welcome!
Juneau's warm welcome this weekend.
This session I will be serving on the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for the state's annual budget and every bill that affects the state's finances. Creating a responsible budget is vital this year and many important pieces of legislation leading up to the final budget will be heard by this committee. Despite significant budget cuts over the last seven years, the governor's proposed fiscal year 2022 budget reflects a deficit of over $2 billion.
Last week the committee learned that the State won't receive any corporate income tax payments this year from Alaskan corporations. In fact, due to a federal CARES Act provision and an unforeseen problem with our state tax system, Alaska will be forced to write major refund checks to these corporations for their operating losses going three full years back.
This will cost the state over $160 million over the next two years while Alaska continues to experience substantial budget deficits and Alaskans have suffered huge cuts to their PFDs for the last five years.
Alaskans don't deserve to see their PFDs cut year after year while entities that lobby for big tax breaks, refunds, and other favorable economic policies get what they want from federal and state government. My office is looking into how to prevent these unintended tax refunds from further draining our general fund and affecting Alaskans by worse PFD cuts and reduced state services.
2021 Sponsored Legislation
Senate Bill 25 - Online Checkbook
The State of Alaska spends billions of dollars each year on everything from office supplies to professional services and capital improvement projects. Public accountability helps ensure that state funds are spent wisely and transparently. That is why I introduced Senate Bill 25, also known as the Alaska Online Checkbook Act.
The intent of the Alaska Online Checkbook Act is to create a free, searchable website that provides Alaskans with easy access to detailed and comprehensive information on state spending. This will encourage better understanding of state operations and, ultimately, help ensure that funding is directed to the state's most important needs. Every other state operates a website that makes information on state expenditures and revenues accessible to the public. However, Alaska's site was removed in the spring of 2020 and the public no longer has an easy way to access to any of this important financial information.
Alaskans have the right to know how our government is spending state funds, and Senate Bill 25 will allow for greater transparency and trust in our work.
|I am honored to represent East Anchorage in the 32nd Alaska Legislature.|
Senate Joint Resolution 1 - Constitutionally Guaranteed PFD
The Permanent Fund Dividend was established in 1982 and was intended to provide every Alaskan a direct payout representing a small portion of the oil wealth we've earned from the resources we collectively own under the Alaska Constitution. The PFD was also meant to protect the Permanent Fund from government overspending that could jeopardize the Fund's growth and long-term prosperity. In the last five years the PFD has been cut significantly from the statutory formula.
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the PFD cannot be safeguarded from cuts except by constitutional amendment. I have filed legislation this session to do just that: Senate Joint Resolution 1 (SJR 1) would enshrine the PFD in the Constitution so it can no longer be subject to cuts by the governor or legislature seeking to spend PFD dollars on government.
I was a strong public supporter of Ballot Measure One which failed in the 2020 general election. The ballot measure would have provided protection to the PFD and Permanent Fund through nearly $1 billion in increased state revenues from oil taxes. To defeat Ballot Measure One, the oil industry spent around $27 million and promised Alaskans that voting "NO" on Ballot Measure One would "Save the PFD." Alaskans deserve to hold the industry accountable to its word.
I believe SJR 1 is the only way to truly save the PFD and guarantee it for current and future generations of Alaskans.
Covid-19 Vaccination Appointments
As of February 2, 96,858 Alaskans have been vaccinated, and 28,911 have received both shots.
Alaskans who are health care workers or over the age of 65 currently qualify for State of Alaska distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. You can check availability and make an appointment here
if you fall within an eligible tier.
For those who have received one or both shots, all safety precautions including social distancing and mask wearing are still advised.
I want to hear from you! As session goes on, please don't hesitate to give me a call to share your opinions on legislation, the budget or anything else you want my office to address.
Due to COVID-19 it has become difficult to hold in-person meetings, but I am more than happy to set up one-on-one meetings with constituents over Zoom or by phone.
Please contact my office at 907-465-2435 to schedule a meeting.