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Thursday, November 23, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsNot a single cut allowed by House Democrats — not even their personal chef

Not a single cut allowed by House Democrats — not even their personal chef

Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, offers a budget cut on the House floor today. It was voted down by the Democrat-controlled majority.

Not a single cut. Not one more position in Alaska State government’s 18,000+ workforce can be eliminated, according to the new majority caucus in charge of the House of Representatives.

The Democrats and the three exiled musk ox Republicans in control are not allowing any budget amendments to be made in the governor’s proposed $4.2 billion general fund budget. Not if they are reductions — not one position, and not one program.

Hawkins

Instead, they’ve actually grown the governor’s budget to $5.07 billion. Some of that increase is because they have added money back to the Permanent Fund Dividend program.

The House gaveled in this afternoon and started working through what is expected to be hundreds of surgical budget reductions that were recently offered by Republicans and rejected by Democrats in House Finance Committee, where the D’s are also firmly in control. Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer co-chairs that committee. He is a Republican who has been exiled from the party for aligning with Democrats in exchange for a powerful position.

One by one, those budget cuts that died in committee died a second death on the House floor today. The process will begin again at 9 am on Tuesday, as more amendments are offered. They’ll likely die too, along caucus lines, but it could take hours, as each one is subject to debate.

The Democrats and the three “musk ox” Republicans who joined them to form a majority originally told the public that everything is on the table regarding the budget, but apparennly that didn’t mean real cuts such as these, which they rejected soundly:

  • $250,000 – Amendment 1 would have cut a new program offered by the governor that would have encouraged school districts to work together to promote innovative thinking. Republicans said that is something schools ought to be doing already.
  • $200,000 – Amendment 2 would have cut the equivalent of 1.25 positions from the Alaska Marine Highway System. Democrats Sam Kito and Neal Foster said that would imperil the system.
  • $137,000 – The Legislature’s personal cooks. Republicans wanted to let go of these positions in the legislative lounge; Democrats said no.
  • $400,000 – Amendment 15 – The Governor’s House contingency fund, which has $550,000 budgeted for broken glass, frozen pipes, or some other repairs that might need to be made to the Governor’s Mansion. Republicans wanted to leave $150,000 in that fund. Democrats said no, the entire amount cannot be touched.

On Tuesday, the Democrats running the calendar in the House of Representatives have cancelled most committee meetings so the House can take up the rest of the hundreds of amendments that are expected to be offered by Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, and Rep. Cathy Tilton, R-Chugiak-Wasilla, two of the Republican minority’s budget workhorses.

As she did today, Wilson will pop up from her seat time and again and cheerfully offer the House a strategic surgical cut to consider. A few Republicans will chime in on the importance of the cuts. Democrats will stand to defend the spending.

And on a 22-18 vote along caucus lines, Democrats, trans-Party Reps. Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan and Jason Grenn of Anchorage, and their three Republican musk ox will vote each one down, as they did today.

But, House Republicans will be unified on record offering a different vision of the Alaska state budget than House Democrats and their musk oxen enablers.

You can watch the proceedings on GavelAlaska beginning at 9 am.

 

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Suzanne – unfortunately, the amendment process going on in the House today is the same process used by the House Democrat minority for the many years the Republicans were in the Majority. The Dems offered hundreds of amendments and the Republicans voted them all down. This is certainly not a new or unusual process.

    • Perhaps not new but in this particular situation, those cuts that they are voting down will only give fuel to a statewide tax on people who already pay insane amounts for just the basic living…and these jackwads want to keep their chef.

      Meanwhile, Struggling Family is having to scrape just to get themselves to work and back, nevermind enough to have a gourmet meal made for them for 90 days a year.

      • Legislators pay for their meals, correct? Seems like leaving the building to eat would take more time. Keeping an eatery in the building provided employment, is accessible to all employees and I think the public, too and allows legislators, staff etc to work through meal times if needed or choose.

        • They ALREADY receive massive per-diems for meals so if the tax-payers pay for said per-diems, why must we additionally pay for a gourmet chef for them – at an effective rate around $135,000.00 for a 90 day legislative period?

    • I am so thankful, as a SOA employee, that I do not get a cost of living raise for 3 years so the Democrats can take those savings and spend them.

    • So their defense is tevusual liberal nonsense, “somebody else did the same thing, sometime, somewhere, so we are too”?
      I know politics is a dirty business. It still amazes me how much democrats love to wallow in the s,op. Disgusted with the lot of them. And don’t have much more tolerance for those that vote them into office

  • You have Freakn got to be kidding me. !!! These peeps in Juneau are insane.!!!! Cant balance the budget geez wonder why…Your motto must be ” TAKE TAKE TAKE” from the working class, but don’t want to give up anything you are getting… YOU have a fiscal responsibility, Juneau……let’s get real .. or you need to go !!!

  • This is a very good article with the exception of … “Instead, they’ve actually grown the governor’s budget to $5.07 billion. Some of that increase is because they have added money back to the Permanent Fund Dividend program.” Yes, they have increased the Operating Budget, but that has nothing to do with the Permanent Fund Dividend Program. The author got that totally wrong. The Permanent Fund Dividend is not, nor has it ever been part of the Operating Budget. Thanks for the great reporting !

  • Always true to their mission to keep government big….will ultimately have its consequences. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken. Go look how they voted and make a list..vote them out!! At this point and time due to our fiscal situation, we don’t need ANY obstructionism by either party. You were elected to do a job you’re NOT doing…and that is work for the people and create legislation to help the SOA citizens. THIS is not helping…

  • Thats par for the course, just like wanting to spend new 1% Arts money on the new ferries when we have art and likely historical artwork on the old ferries that could easily be used….but no, we have lots of state funds to still to be spent I guess…..Pretty easy to spend other people’s money.

  • This is what happens when they all hide out in Juneau- a town we are subsidizing. We provide our legislature with offices in home towns, offices in Anchorage and offices in Juneau. All on our tax dime. We haul their personal vehicles back and forth on Alaska’s dime so they can drive around on Juneau’s 6 miles of roads. They need free food while we pay them something like $380 a day to manage living there in Juneau?. Get rid of Juneau, give these money wasters home offices and let them Skype to work. Keep the LIO’s open in case they want to go participate that way. They don’t need 3 offices in this state paid for with our money. Why are they getting so little push back on all of these shenanigans?

    • Bingo.

  • I’ve said this about senators and representatives whether state or national for a long time. With all the availability of video meetings, they should stay in their own state and truly represent their state — also if they were paid by their state instead of national government, they would really do what we as residents want of them or they would be replaced. Just think of all the money that would not be spent.

  • I quit voting when we said move the capital and they found reasons to not do so and now they spend millions on office space in anchorage and who knows how many billions they’ll spend on capital refurbishing, come on folks they’re not going to give up they’re private play ground. Most folks I know can’t afford to fly down and pitch a gripe,so you think your vote counts? Think again. We have the most inexesable government in the U.S.

  • But Troopers get cut. Democrats got elected by saying they wouldn’t do this. Weather it’s fresh water or saltwater, crap always floats.