From Sen. Tom Begich <[email protected]>
Subject Say it Loud
Date June 15, 2021 10:00 PM
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Special session update, Juneteenth, and a virtual Anchorage Caucus Constituent Meeting SUBSCRIBE ‌ ‌ Dear Friends and Neighbors, Toward the end of the regular session, the Governor summoned us back to a Special Session set to begin on May 20, immediately following the regular session’s adjournment. The primary reason: to pass this year’s state operating and capital budgets before the end of the state’s fiscal year (June 30) and to consider his bill to develop a constitutional Permanent Fund Dividend. The Budget Conference Committee has been hard at work to develop a budget that is amenable to both the House and Senate, but this is never an easy job. I have been involved in discussions focused on ensuring the items that the Senate Democrats advocated for continue to be included and I have been working to ensure that we end up with a budget with broad support. Included among our many priorities: continued state support for district pre-K programs, support for our libraries and the Alaska HistoryMakers project, funding for energy burden mapping in our limited income communities, and significant investments in outdoor recreation for the Long Trail Project and the Muktuk Marston Trail. On that note, the conference committee recently addressed capital budget reappropriations. When funding appropriated for projects in prior years is not fully spent by the recipient, the money can be reappropriated for projects within that district. This year’s reappropriations for our Senate District include a major investment in the 2nd Avenue Connection (Ingra Street to Karluk Street) for a conceptual design phase and pedestrian safety, as well as about $400,000 for rehabilitation of Mountain View Drive from Taylor Street to McCarrey Street. These projects will not only improve our community, but the Municipality of Anchorage as a whole. I thank the conference committee for maintaining these requests from our district. As part of the Governor’s Special Session call, committees in both bodies have been meeting to examine the Governor’s proposal for a constitutional amendment on the Permanent Fund and dividends - SJR 6 and its companion, HJR 7. I’ve been on record in support of protecting the dividend in the Constitution, but let me be clear: I have some issues with the Governor’s proposal. Because of the impact to future generations, I favor a lower dividend amount that he has proposed and am cautious about supporting any overdraw of the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve Account (ERA), especially the $3 billion in “bridge funding” in the Governor’s plan. Any overdraw of the ERA will weaken the strength of the fund and cost future Alaskans millions of dollars each year. However, if coupled with an effective rewrite of the Dividend formula, I could support a one-time overdraw. Finally, we have also been working closely with the budget conference committee to ensure that a greater portion of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds get to real people – through support of food security, non-profits, and local governments, which have passed similar funds for rent relief and like programs that ease our transition back into a post-pandemic economy. This special session must end on or before Friday, June 18. Before then, I expect the legislature will have a final vote on the operating and capital budget, and send it to the Governor for consideration. Given the late date of passage, the Governor must announce vetoes and sign the budget into law before the fiscal year ends on June 30. I am not sure where things will land, but as always, I promise to keep you informed and up-to-date. All my best, Senator Tom Begich Senate District J Juneteenth Celebrations June 19th - known as Juneteenth - commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Many events are happening this upcoming weekend, with the city-wide celebration happening on Saturday, June 19th from 1 to 6 pm at Northway Mall. For more information, visit Help DOT&PF Plan for the Future Transportation plays a vital role in every Alaskan’s day-to-day activities. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is planning a comprehensive approach to clearly map out our future transportation goals and priorities for Alaska through 2050. Take this short survey and help DOT&PF understand how you travel and your priorities for transportation within Alaska. The deadline for participation is June 30. More information at Join the Anchorage Caucus for a (virtual) Summer Constituent Meeting Send us your questions ahead of time at Log on Wednesday, June 23rd, starting at 6 pm at (ID 992 5782 5591 and use passcode ANC21). Dear Friends and Neighbors, Here we are at Juneteenth once again. What sprang to mind is the first time I heard “Black Lives Matter.” My first thought was, ‘all lives matter,’ but before that thought got to its end, I understood. The motto could have been “Black Lives Matter as Much As White Lives Matter,” or, “All Lives Matter Including Black Lives,” or even, “Stop Killing Us For No Reason at All” (like the Black man shot and killed by a policeman entering his own home carrying a Subway sandwich). And does “Defund the Police” mean we don’t want police officers or that we’d like the police to do what they do best and use other means for the rest. An example? Send mental health workers to handle the mentally ill. But, my issue is not so tied to these specific slogans but our filters. Our capacity to see the world through a peephole of our own needs and fears has become worse with selectively picking through the Internet. Soon the Internet or our news outlet choices just sends us articles which bolster our existing point of view. During the protests while conservatives were reading about violence and destruction of property surrounding the BLM rallies, liberals read about people purposely driving through peaceful BLM protestors mowing down women and men as they went. Our past news story choices set us up for which stories were presented to us. And this is what we are ending up with: ’Think the way I do or else you are not patriotic, not moral, not intelligent and are the cause of all the troubles in America today.” Both political parties are accusing the other of trying to end democracy. Republicans think the Democrats get votes by giving away money to the masses of lazy people and making the poor dependent while the Democrats think Republicans aren’t smart enough to see how helping someone in temporary need givens them a chance to become productive, tax paying citizens and the financial sense of reducing crime by front loaded proven programs. These stereotypes, liberal, conservative, Black, White, Asian, young, old, fat, LGBTQIA, immigrant, as seen though our eyes and intensified by our chosen media, are not good for the country ALL of us love so it is a critical time to try to understand someone else’s perspective. I’ve learned, by reading a few online sites, to explain things from someone else’s perspective. Maybe it didn’t change my mind much, but it did help me respect some other positions. And while I found some sites, my provider seems to want to reroute me to my usual progressive sites. Keep working at it…it may broaden your understanding and bring us closer together because together we are a stronger America. Enjoy the sunshine when we have it, appreciate the rain when it comes. We need both just as we need a full spectrum of thinkers. Kayla Contact Me! (907) 465-3704 (Juneau / session) (907) 269-0169 (Anchorage / interim) [email protected] ‌ ‌ Sen. Tom Begich | State Capitol Building, 120 4th St, Room 11, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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