Heads and Tails: Briefs from around the 49th state - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
HomePoliticsHeads and Tails: Briefs from around the 49th state

Heads and Tails: Briefs from around the 49th state

WRANGELL LABOR DISPUTE LABORS ON: Wrangell officials have pulled out of contact talks with the IBEW, the union representing municipal workers. Twenty-four utility and other workers had gone on strike on June 22, saying progress was not being made on a contract.

Interim Borough Manager Carol Rushmore posted a long letter on the Wrangell municipal website Wednesday saying she was not accepting the latest offer by IBEW and she wasn’t making any counter offers, either. The letter says, in part, “I feel the Union’s additional demands are not financially feasible for the residents of Wrangell, nor consistent with what the Union has stated publicly that it wanted. Therefore today, July 5, 2017, I have made the choice to not accept the Union’s last proposal to the Borough and to not make any further offers to the Union.  I cannot in good conscience submit the Union’s demands for Assembly review when I feel it threatens the financial future and the sustainability of the Community.”

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Spending on Medicaid-covered prescriptions for the treatment of opioid abuse (now known as opioid use disorder) and opioid overdose increased dramatically between 2011 and 2016, according to a report from the Urban Insitute.

Between 2011 and 2016, Medicaid spending on OUD treatment prescriptions for buprenorphine, naltrexone, and naloxone more than doubled, from $394.2 million to $929.9 million. Most of the taxpayer money went to buprenorphine, for which spending increased from $380.9 million to $753.9 million.

Medicaid spending on naltrexone increased over 1,000 percent, from $13.3 million in 2011 to 156.3 million in 2016. Overall spending on naloxone increased 90,205 percent— from just $0.02 million in 2011 to $19.7 million in 2016.

Read the January, 2017 recommendations of the Alaska Opioid Policy Task Force here.

PARADE OF SUPERINTENDENTS: That was fast. Haines School Board just accepted the resignation of its school superintendent, Tony Habra, who moved from Michigan last year to take the job. He is the fourth in four years, following Michael Byers, Ginger Jewell, and Rich Carlson.

GABBY LEDOUX, A STUDY IN CONTRADICTIONS: The House Democrat-led leadership held a press conference yesterday, during which it doubled down on its insistence for higher oil taxes along with ending the cash credits paid to small explorers on the North Slope. But Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, in answering reporters’ questions, contradicted the party line: “Eliminate credits – simply eliminate the credits – that’s what we can all agree on.” “Simply eliminate the credits.” “Repeal the credits, one doesn’t have to go with the other.” But that is not where House Resource Committee co-chair, Rep. Geran Tarr, is taking the House majority. The rumor is, LeDoux is not the only one in the majority caucus who is unhappy with the majority’s direction right now and, specifically, House Resource Committee leadership.

The credits cost Alaska $1 million a day, and the Senate wants to end them. Their plan is to backdate the effective date to July 1 to save precious cash this fiscal year.

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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.

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