House Majority to travel the state for budget testimony - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, October 15, 2019
HomePoliticsHouse Majority to travel the state for budget testimony

House Majority to travel the state for budget testimony

ROAD TRIP WILL PIT DEMOCRAT-LED MAJORITY AGAINST GOP GOVERNOR

The House Finance Committee is hitting the road to take testimony from people all over Alaska, according to Speaker Bryce Edgmon, a Dillingham Democrat who recently changed his party to undeclared to allow Democrats to control the House.

The purpose of the trip, details of which are yet to be revealed, is for Finance Committee members to have field hearings about the governor’s proposed budget, with its $1.6 billion in cuts, and the yet-to-be revealed House Democrat-led Majority alternative budget.

Over a month has passed since the governor proposed his budget, and neither the House nor Senate have offered an alternative. But they have held numerous hearings.

At a third public hearing today on the ferry system cuts, the House Transportation Committee heard from more ferry proponents, angered by the proposed 75 percent cut to the Alaska Marine Highway System. One of the callers said it was a form of “political terrorism” to cut the ferry system. Another said it was obvious that ferry riders were not among the governor’s “special interest groups.” By now, hundreds have testified in that committee alone over the past three days.

Following the speaker’s announcement, Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (R-Wasilla) released a statement critical of the move:

“After waiting nearly a month to organize the House, the fact that the Democrat-led House Majority now plans to spend tens of thousands of state dollars to fly members around the state campaigning for an increase in government spending in the middle of legislative session is astounding to me,” said Sullivan-Leonard.

“This is a great depiction of why the people of Alaska do not trust in their legislature – we’re in the middle of a huge budget deficit and House leadership wants to spend money that we do not have to try and advocate for spending even more money that we do not have. Other departments in the government are cutting their state travel budgets down by 50% or more – they didn’t give that money to the Democrat-led House Majority to spend for them.”

Sullivan-Leonard noted that members of the House Finance Committee were not made aware of the plans and several of them have already spent time and funds attending town hall meetings and caucuses in their districts.

“Spending precious dollars to peddle political motives in this way is disingenuous and irresponsible,” she said.

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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

  • I absolutely agree with Colleen, Democrats are the reason this country is going broke. They think there is a never ending stash of money somewhere. When it runs out, they tax us more.

    • But be happy that Income and Sales Taxes are off the table with this Majority.
      If they also balance the budget that would be even better. To do that – I project a balanced budget Dividend of $750.

  • So much for budget cutting of extra trips. Definitely a canoaign against Gov Dunleavy . There absolutely has to be cuts in the State of Alaska budget. We can not keep spending money to keep everything going as usual. Members in both the House and Senate ,that seemed to once understand the financial system, and the constitutional mandate for a balanced budget , have lost their direction.

  • And you wonder why he is cutting the budget everywhere when they spend money needlessly on trips when they should be making decisions on the budget and cutting the extra people in their own houses

  • Let me guess…..they all fly First Class, stay at the Mariott or Sheraton, eat crab and steak, and take in a play or concert while on the road. Another waste of money. Dunleavy needs to get tough with these legislative vacationers. STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY!

  • What’s wrong with telephone conferences? Obviously these members are out of touch with reality.

  • Think about the frequent flyer miles that these folks can get!

    With all due respect to the expression of views from the public, the really hard part about this Legislative session will be putting together the votes and overall adjournment package, which may have to include the Governor’s PFD payback scheme. And part of that calculation will be preparing for the Governor’s use of the veto pen. We are probably looking at multiple special sessions to enact the necessary appropriation bills. It will be the most difficult Legislative session in decades. Traveling back to home districts will only postpone addressing the problem.

  • The Alaskan legislative majority is acting like a microcosm of the dem led house majority. They complain about everything that a competent, constructive, fiscally responsible President/Governor tries to do, but they offer no alternatives except “what they really, really want”. They seem willing to destroy the country/state, if that’s what it takes to give them what they want. The proof of that is available on a daily basis. Just look at or listen to the news. A disgrace, is what it is. Now, the dems are planning an excursion around the state. Politicking and traveling on the taxpayers’ dime instead of staying and doing their jobs. The reps for the “ferry communities” don’t seem to care about any hardships the rest of the Alaskans have to endure, as long as they get theirs, to keep the ferries subsidized. I think I’ll ask the state to subsidize my car and pickup and house and everything else that costs a lot.

    • And how much do you pay to build and maintain the roads in your area? You cannot even board an Alaska State Ferry unless you buy a ticket. You may be able to drive your unaccompanied vehicle onto a ferry but you pay to transport the car and if you go with the car or truck you pay too. Maybe the issue is the fare structure?

  • Regardless of this traveling Political ‘Dog & Pony’ Show, regardless of how many sessions are conducted, the Governor should exercise the Line Item Veto. Actually, it might communicate a “STRONG” signal to the Governor, if folks agree, to mail him a Red Pen in support of the Line Item Veto.

  • If this does happen, let’s make sure the hammer of God falls on them at each stop!

  • The true leaders are the voters yet our public servants while on the job we are paying them for are sabotaging our wish. They are defiant and while we must call in via phone to communicate with them or spend our money to see them they disrespect their higher up us and their person we put in the highest position for setting the course the majority of the true leaders have voted ….We found your path lacking and wastful. We want responsibility in spending.

    Paul Seaton is not with you because enough was enought!….

  • Where are the funds coming from. I think everyone should call and give the people involved a piece of mind. I will

  • Is anybody really surprised that a group of people who can’t spend enough of other peoples money want to spend more money so they can travel around the state for free?

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