I want to hear from you, share your thoughts, voice your opinion. Together we will make a difference.
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Toll-Free (866) 465-2095
State Capitol Bldg. Rm. 426
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-3810 fax
716 W. 4th St., Ste. 370
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 269-0242 fax
EMAIL: Gov. Sean Parnell
Senator Mark Begich,
EMAIL: Sen. Mark Begich
Congressman Don Young,
EMAIL: Rep. Don Young
Senator Lisa Murkowski,
May 7, 2011
Legislative Progress Despite Stand-Off
As the Governor and House and Senate budget negotiators continue their impasse, I’m using the special session to advance concerns critical to Alaska’s energy needs.
While serving on the Special Committee on Energy, we have been working jointly with the Resources Committee to go over the energy projects listed in the Senate’s capital bill. We just finished almost twelve hours of hearings and are now working on our comments to forward to the House Finance Committee in anticipation bill arriving to the House soon.
Several days ago, Representatives Pete Petersen, Scott Kawasaki and I sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate Alaskan fuel prices as part of his review of nationwide gasoline prices.
High gas prices in Alaska are crippling household budgets and challenge business and municipalities. Since 2008, Alaska has consistently had the highest gasoline prices in the nation, despite owning and producing our own oil.
Alaskan families and businesses deserve relief from high gas prices. I hope investigation will reveal the reasons Alaskans face such high gas prices when we have oil production right in our backyard.
Representatives Chris Tuck and Charisse Millett join Senator Kevin Meyer in presenting a memoriam to the family of Corporal Gregory Fleury, in honor of his service to his country.
Fleury died in the line of duty while serving his country in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Behind the speakers is a monument dedicated to Fleury, who attended Service High School.
This latest effort to lower fuel prices in Alaska continues work started with House Bill 25, which prohibits Alaskan oil refineries from charging excessive or exorbitant prices for gasoline, diesel, and heating oil.
Action on the federal level could also help. Sen. Begich plans to introduce legislation to help Alaskans save money on fuel costs. This legislation is modeled after medical savings accounts, and would allow employers to set up pre-tax transportation savings accounts to help offset the pain of high gas prices on Alaskans.
I’d like to know what high gas prices mean to you and your family, and where you see potential relief and solutions. Please write or call, to share your thoughts with me!
Representative Chris Tuck speaks on the House floor about cooperating towards finding solutions (and the need to end the special session soon!)
Special Session Update
Today is the 19th day of the special session. So far, 8 of 10 pieces of legislation on the special session docket have been passed. The following bills are of great interest to our area:
1. Susitna Dam Offers Affordable Energy to Anchorage
SB 42, which passed last week, jump-starts work necessary for obtaining land and producing engineering and design work related to the dam. The Susitna Dam project has the potential to greatly reduce the reliance on oil for providing electricity throughout the Railbelt. This is expected to make energy costs more affordable for consumers.
2. State Operating Budget Contains Savings, Invests in Alaska’s Workforce, Boosts Development
The operating budget, which is the only spending measure that the Legislature must pass because it pays for government operations, passed today. It includes:
o $1 billion for the state's statutory budget reserve account
o $400 million for the Power Cost Equalization Fund, a kind of savings plan which helps local communities deal with high energy costs.
o $3.6 million cut in overall proposed spending.
· Investment in our future workforce and leaders
o Funds to allow graduates of the class of 2011 to participate in the new merit-based scholarship program ($6 million), and a boost to the existing needs-based college aid program. ($3 million).
o $20 million for one-time additional payments to schools, to fund teachers and learning materials.
· Boosting development
o funds to the Dept. of Natural Resources to speed up issuance of permits and decrease the permit backlog.
Alaska Constitutional Delegate, Vic Fischer, and Representative Chris Tuck share thoughts about the visionary nature of Alaska’s constitution.
The capital budget, containing about $2.5 billion in construction and energy infrastructure investments, remains the single largest obstacle to special session adjournment. The fate of the capital budget is still unclear because the Governor, House and Senate budget negotiators have not agreed on terms.
The way out of the Legislative stand-off over the capital budget is simple, yet will require budget negotiators in the Governor’ office, House and Senate to compromise.
Alaskans need the Legislature to get its job done, and do it quickly. Alaska stands to lose significant federal construction dollars if it waits too long to approve annual construction spending plans.
I hope to be home soon, serving our community from Anchorage. In the meantime, please know that I’m here for you, and look forward to your calls and emails.
Alaska State Representative
District 29 – Anchorage
SEWARD HIGHWAY ROAD CONSTRUCTION – EXPECT EVENING DELAYS
· Road construction work on the Seward Highway, from Potter Marsh to Dowling Road, is scheduled to begin the week of May 8 and continue through mid-August.
· Beginning Friday, May 13th, expect nightly lane restrictions, flagging operations and short delays between 8:00pm and 5:00am.
· Click here for more information.