Drive Leadership in Arctic Development, Research and Infrastructure
Alaskans are at the forefront of emerging economic and resource development opportunities, vibrant healthy communities, and circumpolar cooperation.
It is estimated that there is $100 billion of private sector funds looking for investment opportunities in the Arctic. Alaska needs to be smart about positioning itself for future investments in Arctic Infrastructure whether it be ports or high bandwidth internet connections.
The Alaska Senate Majority is in alignment with the final AAPC report, "Our vision for the Arctic is based on economic and resource development, a healthy environment, secure and safe communities, and transparent decision making."
Restore Order and Sustainability in our Fiscal House
When the Senate adjourned last April, Alaska's revenues were projected to be about $4.5 billion dollars for the coming year. Our savings of nearly $12 billion could cover projected budget shortfalls for almost a decade.
By December, oil prices had dropped 40% taking with them nearly 50% of all anticipated state income. Suddenly, savings which could last a decade, would now be exhausted in just 3 years.
Commited to taking Alaska's fiscal crisis seriously, the Alaska Senate cracked down hard on both operating and capital spending. Working across party lines, General Fund spending in both the operating and capital budgets was reduced by $861 million dollars in a single fiscal year including:
Hundreds of responsible reductions to the operating budget which save the State at least $470 million in unrestricted general funds. Targeted reductions were taken in all branches of government and all departments averaging an across-the-board 11% decrease. The Base Student Allocation (BSA) was among the least of all areas affected, receiving a 1.4% trim, still above fiscal year 2014.
Capital budget expenditures were reduced $481 million from last year alone and totals $2 billion less than capital spending in 2012
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Catastrophic Drop in Oil Prices Undermines Alaska's Fiscal Certainty
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Nearly 90% of all State income is realized directly from oil production which has been declining for years. When the price collapsed last fall, billions in anticipated revenue evaporated. This dependence on a single resource leaves Alaska financially vulnerable to market forces beyond our control.
The Alaska Senate Majority believes that a short-term financial focus will eventually leave the State of Alaska with increasingly grim budgeting options. Sustainability should be our long-term goal, not just getting by from year to year.
Fortunately, Alaska's past leaders foresaw a day when oil production would wane and provided legal frameworks for saving a portion of Alaska's oil wealth. Our Constitutional Budget Reserve contains nearly $10 billion in savings. This allows Alaskan's the time to engage in a conversation on budget priorities and our ability to fund those priorities. Many of our members are actively surveying their districts to learn what Alaskan's expect from their government and what revenue options they prefer.
Investing in Our Next Generation
Educate and Train Alaskans for the Future of Our State
No one questions that education is a smart investment for the future of each student and our state as a whole. Our members hold a diverse portfolio of convictions on the best course to chart for Alaska's educational future.
As the Senate Majority we focus on accountability and standards, making sure that Alaska's educational dollars are being used to the greatest effect in the classroom.
We promote opportunity and choice for Alaska's parents and students -- empowering students to pursue learning in different ways, whether in traditional classroom settings or in a charter school environment.
In 2015, the State of Alaska is facing a devastating drop in revenue. While cutting some departments by more than 30%, the Senate Majority asked for a reduction in the Base Student Allocation (BSA) of 1.4%. In an environment of scarce resources, the Senate Majority's focus has been finding revenue neutral ways to encourage excellence in education. These include:
Post-Secondary Student Loans, SJR 2 >
Protecting Parental Rights, SB 89 >
Accountability for Department of Education, SB 80 >
Protecting Student Data, SB 3 >
Establishing a Task Force for Civics Education, SCR 1 >
Establishing Alaska School Choice Week, SCR 3 >
Reemployment of Retired Teachers, SB 79 >
Unfunded Mandates to Schools, SB 102 >
Fighting Federal Overreach
Protect Alaska's Sovereignty and Opportunities Inherent in our Land and Resources
Recent declarations by the Obama administration jeopardize Alaska's ability to provide economic opportunity and essential state services to future generations. Our members have spoken out forcefully for Alaska's right to responsibly manage and develop our lands and resources.
Keeping the Heat On
Provide Affordable Energy to Stabilize our Economy & Communities
Alaska is blessed with an abundance of energy sources including water, wind and natural gas. This energy is not evenly spread among Alaska's vast and diverse environments. While one community may enjoy seemingly endless, cheap heating, their friends just a few miles away may live in a far different economic reality.
Many of our communities remain reliant on fuel oil for heating. The price of oil fluctuates wildly, it is hazardous to transport and burns far less clean than natural gas. For some families the heating budget competes with the food budget. When it's -60 degrees outside, no Alaskan should have to decide between being fed and being warm.
The Alaska Senate Majority has acted decisively to provide Fairbanks and surrounding communities with more affordable energy. Two projects are concurrently underway to get natural gas to Alaska's largest concentration of fuel oil dependent households. These initiatives include:
AKLNG Phase 1 Authorized SB 138 >
AIDEA Bonding Authority for Interior Energy HB 105 >
I am unapologetically pro-life and I will vote against expansion and for restriction of abortions. I have no intention of fighting fair to remove this travesty from our state. Since
Roe V. Wade in 1973, 54 million American lives have been snuffed out before they were even allowed to celebrate their first birthday.
There is a word for this kind of public policy -- Wrong. For those who have had an abortion you need to know there is a world view that opens its arms to you in forgiveness. We invite you to put the past behind you and stand with us in the fight against this American Holocaust. We are accountable for this moment in time and history will judge us harshly for allowing this to happen on our watch.
I couldn't believe my ears when I heard an American president tell business people: "If you've got a business - you didn't build that! Somebody else made that happen".
Unfortunately, this leftist thinking isn't limited to Washington DC and it has infected some of our politicians in Fairbanks as well.
I am proud to say: I support Alaskan entrepreneurs now and had a history of doing so when I was in the State Senate, years ago. Oil through the pipeline is dropping fast; "for sale" signs are popping up in our neighborhoods and North Dakota has passed us in oil field production. Now is not the time for this 1960's anti-business rhetoric.
Our culture is coming apart at the seams. Our schools sponsor gay and lesbian pride day then restrict kids from saying the pledge of allegiance. Teenage girls are restricted from wearing apparel that reflects their faith, but are allowed to wear tank tops that say "Porn Star". In my tenure as a legislator I was honored to have the opportunity to stand in the gap for Alaskan families. Among other pieces of pro-family legislation I sponsored the House version of the Constitutional Amendment to define marriage and passed the bill to reverse a judge's decision to mandate that the state pay for health benefits to the boyfriends and girlfriends of state employees.
the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." This is not a complicated concept to me.
My view of environmental groups could not get any lower. Like the Lilliputians from Gulliver's Travels these groups have tied down the giant of our economy. Companies that come to Alaska can expect to be stuck for years waiting for approval of permits that take about a month in Louisiana. How absurd that Shell was forced to wait 5 years after spending $5 billion. Companies are becoming less and less willing to risk doing business here. Instead, they are moving to North Dakota where they can avoid the swarm of silk suited lawyers who are committed to shut Alaska down and make a huge profit in the process