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Rep. Les Gara during constituent meetingA Note from Rep. Les Gara
 
Public Testimony on Oil Tax;
Pushing for Parking for Anchorage Hikers

 
 
 Trouble Viewing (especially Yahoo users)?  Try clicking here:
(http://www.akdemocrats.org/gara/032211_note_from_gara.htm).

Dear Neighbors

Voice Your Opinions!
Voice your opinions!Letters to the editor make a difference. You can send a 175-word letter to the Anchorage Daily News by e-mail (letters@adn.com); or by fax or mail (call them at 257-4300). Send letters to the Anchorage Press via e-mail editor@anchoragepress.com or by mail to 540 E. Fifth Ave, Anchorage, 99501. Feel free to call us if you need factual information to help you write a letter.
Contact the Governor. The Governor can be reached at 269-7450; sean.parnell@alaska.gov; or www.alaska.gov.
Contact us. My office can be reached at: 716 W. 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501; by phone: 269-0106; visit my website at http://gara.akdemocrats.org; or email: representative.les.gara@legis.state.ak.us

Oil Tax Public Testimony

      On Monday, the House Finance Committee held a hearing where only those who support the Governor’s $2 billion per year oil tax rollback were invited to speak.  On Thursday and Friday, you get your chance to speak out; something I think should have been allowed at Monday’s hearing.  Testimony will be held at your city’s Legislative Information Office (716 W. 4th Ave. in Anchorage) Thursday, March 24, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Friday, March 25, from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  If an LIO is not accessible to you, call us and we can provide a call-in number.

      Here’s a link to last week’s newsletter, and Anchorage Dispatch editorial, on why I think we can adopt a smarter policy than to simply reduce the state’s share of our oil revenue by $2 billion a year – for potentially nothing in exchange.

Parking Access for Anchorage Hikers: Solving Last Summer’s Parking Mess

     Last summer many people were effectively blocked from hiking the dozens of trails at Powerline Pass when the city started ticketing overflow parkers.  Now, unless you get there before 4:00 PM, you have little assurance you’ll get a parking spot to go hiking.  As a result, many Alaskans no longer drive up to Glen Alps for a summer hike.  Yesterday, Senator Hollis French and I called on the Governor to join us in funding the Division of Parks proposal to add 50 parking spots to make up for the lost roadway parking.  We hope you’ll testify for this when public hearings on the Senate capital budget are scheduled.  We’ll let you know when they are scheduled.

Rep. Gara working with your concerns about the proposed open pit Pebble Strip Mine.
Rep. Gara working with your concerns about the proposed open pit Pebble Strip Mine.

     Alaskans cherish the outdoors, and losing access to this starting point for over a dozen Powerline Pass area hiking and biking and viewing destinations would be unfortunate.

A Better College Scholarship Bill – College and Voc Ed. for Those Who Cannot Afford it

     Last year, Governor Parnell introduced a college scholarship bill that cost $20 million, but provided no needs-based aid to help students who cannot afford college and vocational training.  It offered scholarship money to students who had as low as a “C” average if they took certain courses that are not available in many school districts.  You got no aid if you worked hard and earned a GED, or if your school district doesn’t offer the necessary courses.

     The Senate Education Finance Subcommittee has done a good, efficient job cutting the pricetag of his original plan in half and dedicating $8,221,900 to needs-based aid for those who qualify for, but can’t afford higher education.

     No one should be denied success just because they have no money.  This is a smarter, less expensive way to open the path to opportunity to all Alaskans.  The committee also dedicated $1,100,00  for merit-based scholarships.

       I’ll be in oil tax hearings the rest of this week and weekend – call if you have any questions.  And, please, get those letters to the editor and to your legislators in.

My best,

[signed] Les Gara

 

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