Legislative leaders trying to get hands on CARES Act $$ - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Legislative leaders trying to get hands on CARES Act $$

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The State of Alaska received two disbursements from the federal government this week, with instructions to get it out quickly, fairly, and as equitably as possible to address the economic disaster created by COVID-19.

The Dunleavy Administration has a plan in place to make sure 45 percent of the $1.25 billion that came in goes directly to local governments, as required by the CARES Act, that $300 million is used to help struggling Alaska businesses, particularly in coastal communities, and that the rest of the COVID-19 relief funds are stage-gated to help the state survive before the deadline to expend the funds arrives in December. The State Department of Health and Social Services has seen its budget tapped heavily, and will need some reimbursement. The Department of Labor has had to staff up to process the unemployment claims of the 60,000 Alaskans suddenly out of work.

But Senate President Cathy Giessel and other leaders in the Alaska Legislature today are polling members to see if the House and Senate can get enough members show up in Juneau in the next week or the week following, so they can put a stop to the Dunleavy plan to issue the money beginning May 1, and start their own plan for disbursing the COVID-19 disaster money.

According to some state budget experts, they’re on a fool’s mission. The Legislative Budget and Audit committee has the spending plan from the governor and can quickly give him the go-ahead to simply hit the send button and get the money to the municipalities. Is the Legislature prepared to sue him to stop him from disbursing the funds, MRAK sources asked.

In the Senate Majority’s own explanation of COVID-19 disaster funding, the majority admits that the governor has the authority to get the money out — “as needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and offset economic losses.”

What would the legislators do differently? It is possible they want to try again to fund items the governor vetoed in the regular operating budget — things like more funding for ferries and public broadcasting, for example. But with 60 legislators, it’s anyone’s guess how that would turn out, or how long it would take to come to an agreement.

Also tricky for the Legislature is that if they convene in Juneau, the governor may pressure them to pay out the remainder of last year’s dividend — and he’ll have the people of Alaska squarely on his side.

This time, he’ll also have the business community — landlords, utilities, and others who are not able to collect remittances due to the actions of SB 241, which put in provisions that don’t allow for collections, repossessions, disconnections, or evictions. The business community is clamboring for the Legislature to release the Permanent Fund dividend. There are some heavy-hitters in that business sector who are not too happy with the legislative majority over its withholding of the $1,000 stimulus check to Alaskans.

And finally, with a 20 percent unemployment rate and people’s pocketbooks empty, there are a lot of Alaskans who suddenly have a lot more time to take part in the political process, and a lot more motivation to do so.

Meanwhile, the governor has asked the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee to act quickly — by April 29 — so that he can distribute the funds starting May 1. The game’s afoot.

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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

  • Please don’t let the legislature get its hands on the CARES money. It’s meant for the people who were “mandated” to leave work and stay home, or who lost their employment and or put their businesses in financial jeopardy.
    Once the Alaska Legislature gets money its hands those funds will go to good ole boy favorites and into their pockets to pay for the huddles in Juneau (that will go into overtime to increase per diem $$$$).

    No, no, no keep their hands off of it. These are “Emergency” funds and should be treated as such.

  • Don’t people realize that laws do not pertain to the President of the Senate in the State of Alaska?

  • I hope the Governor has his bases all covered and has taken away the ability of the legislature to screw things up for the folks again…

  • I fear that he doesn’t have a duck in the race. The nurse and the house majority know this.

  • The hubris of Nurse Ratched and the Rasmuson Foundation (Imhoff) knows no limits. This is being done, Predictably, solely to upstage the governor.

  • I bet ASEA is hoping their bought-and-paid-for speaker and senate president will send some millions their way!

  • I would like to see a grand analysis of how much per case this is costing the American people.
    Initially the Legislature approved $100 million for the “plannedemic” in AK?
    At 350 positive cases this amounts to $285,000.00 per infected person?
    I cannot think of a more expensive “germ” in my lifetime.
    At some point the people of Alaska have to step back and ask themselves…what type of wealth transfer is really occurring right before our eyes?

  • It took me over fifty years, from when I first read it, to finally grasp the concept that Satan gives the kingdoms, great and small, to whomsoever he wills, to his “children”.
    America is a kingdom. Each state is a kingdom. Every county, city, district, corporation, business, church, and etc are kingdoms.
    Judging from appearances it would seem rational to infer that the lion’s share of all these “kingdoms” are ruled by Satan’s children. And the people who vote for them are cut from the same cloth.
    That’s why our governments hardly ever listen to the people, they’re too busy listening to their “father”.

    • I suggest a closer reading of Romans 13.

      • Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the authorities of government.”
        “The false church system twists this verse so that Christians will submit to the authority of false governments who in turn support the false religious hierarchies. In reality, Paul makes this statement in the context of YHWH’s Commandments … “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; …” (Exodus 23:2) “… Democracies are easily manipulated by power hungry minorities who control media, ballot boxes, polls and”public opinion.” … The false church system and all false government thrives on “double think” … and markets its theologies and laws as though it is a collectively inherited or accepted ideal … This is extremely high level rebellion against YHWH and must be prosecuted or all of humanity will suffer.” Page 488, Aramaic English New Testament 2012 Netzari Press LLC.
        Aeons of observation and experience tells us that earthly governments of any type cannot be left unsupervised, because they will invariably fail to play well with others and run with scissors.

      • I’ve no doubt you have no idea what Romans 13 is speaking about. Zero.
        Just an excuse to worship the State and say God told you to.

      • And I wasn’t talking to you Joseph. Ol laughing art.

        But, always wanting to spread knowledge, this will give you a good start on what Paul was talking about. Most people don’t care, because the State is their idol, and it’s hard to break from an idol in your life.

        • I understood that you were talking to ART.
          Yeshua (Jesus) said that the religious leaders didn’t want to enter His kingdom, and were barring the way for the people to enter.
          Nothing has changed……

  • What is a majority? I’ve lived my whole life knowing that the majority is not always right. This current majority legislature is getting money from somewhere, to wreck our economy. Who ever figured the trouble would come from cathy Giessel. I didn’t trust that original Photoshopped image of her on her campaign posters….that broad devilish smile. My husband voted for her. Unbelievably, we were suckered into voting for her. Who is she?? She’s not one of us. Vote her out!

    Let’s get this state running by true Alaskan Legislators. Governor Mike Dunleavy will go on record as our greatest Governor.

    Cathy Giessel…you need to socialize more, and don’t wear a mask! How do you spell graft Giessel?

  • You can bet that Senator Stedman and Senator Natasha von Entitlement have a plan for the money that does not include ordinary Alaskans.

  • Sounds like we need new employees (senators). These are the same bozo’s that have been reluctant to hand over the PFD shares they have stolen to pay for social programs and their union lackeys. Recall and hire new employees that don’t back talk to their employers (the people of Alaska).

  • With all the bars and restaurants closed down in Juneau, the legislators have lost their main motivation for coming to Juneau to whoop it up.

  • With all the bars and restaurants closed down, the legislators have lost their primary reason for coming to Juneau.

  • The legislators have proven to have no ability to properly address application of funds they had control over, so I see no reason to allow them to have access of control over these funds. They would spend 10% of it arguing over how to spend it.

  • If Peoples Imperial State Senate President and Co-Governor Giessel and Assistant Co-Governor Edgmon succeed in sequestering federal bail-out money for the benefit of Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team, it seems reasonable to expect a formal complaint will go to the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee asking for an audit.
    .
    Remember, throughout this coming debacle, the $600M Alaska Municipal League “Investment Pool” will remain intact!

    • If that money is misappropriated, the fed may demand it back.

  • Plan to vote now. Follow up in November. Stay as upset as everyone seems to be now at the “legislative majority” in November. Votes are powerful but they need to be used. There are 70,000 democrats in Alaska. Out of 700,000 or so citizens, including several hundred thousand independents and republicans (conservatives with reason to vote). I’ll bet even some democrats will vote against them now. The biggest reason the left is in control of Alaska’s legislature is the left votes as a bloc and then some, you know, that democrat registration list in the graveyard and other non-legitimate places. Conservatives are too trusting in political outcomes and must not think their vote counts anyway. Get over that conservatives. If we don’t vote this time, we lose Alaska to those liberal morons. Alaska won’t/doesn’t have the income for continued leftism. Oil won’t help much for some time, or never, if the “fair share” tax passes. Tourism is toast, for now. I don’t believe military pays taxes. Without common sense and determination by serious politicians, we will not have seen the worst of the left for Alaska, yet. The state wallet is rapidly losing weight. Voting is critical. Next comes more tax hikes, on everything, to appease the left. They must be stopped.

    • Hear, hear!

  • I supported Sen. Cathy Giessel when she first ran, boy did I make a mistake. Her and von Imoff are the ones that really scares me they care nothing about us little people they only want power, get rid of them asap before they destroy us.

    • Let’s hope you and others duped by the bad apple remember in November.

  • The legislature’s hatred of Gov. Dunleavy knows no bounds. He never played well in the sandbox as Senator and they cannot forgive him for that.

  • And if Begich was governor, doing the same thing, this site and everyone commenting would be screaming “who does he think he is!!”
    Pretty pathetic.

  • Dunleavy wants to use how many millions of the emergency relief money for a fishing sector that suffered in 2018? Cricket cricket?

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