By REP. BEN CARPENTER
It’s been more “business as usual” in Juneau.
The House Majority continues its bullying of Alaska’s people with the most recent “compromise” to the people’s request to pay a full Permanent Fund dividend.
House Bill 1005, as presented, is a false dilemma to create demand for spending the Permanent Fund dividend on government largesse.
The “compromise” is smoke-and-mirrors to create demand for doing something (anything!) other than approve Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s budget. What is clearly demanded by the people is a full PFD, not just this year, but into the future.
What is clearly demanded by the people is for the Alaska State Legislature to reduce government spending to a sustainable level, something that has yet to be accomplished. What is clear is that the people are fed up with business as usual as evidenced by the election of Gov. Dunleavy and eight new members in the House.
What we are witnessing, however, is a continuation of pride, power, and partial truths that present a compromise on the PFD as what is in the best interest of the people.
This from the same people who just days ago said the PFD would be “what ever is left over” after government is done spending it.
This from the same people who refuse to even have a conversation about a constitutional spending limit.
This is from the same people who refuse to appropriate current year funds to fully fund education and instead will spend funds on an unnecessary lawsuit.
The reality is that the House Republican Caucus has identified a compromise to end this session very quickly. Leadership in the House and the Senate are fully aware of this compromise but have chosen to ignore the offer. We, the House Republican Caucus, have agreed to fully fund education and fully fund the statutory PFD. We have dropped demands for the three proposed constitutional amendments and reducing education funding this session. These are huge compromises for many constituents.
Education and PFD funding can be addressed with simple amendments by either body in either of the appropriation budgets yet to be passed. With these simple actions and the approval of HB49, the special session is over. It can be done before mid-week next week.
The 15-member House Republican caucus and like-minded members in the Senate are the only thing standing in the way of bigger state government and a smaller PFD.
The 15-member House Republican caucus members are the ones who can make the required votes happen to pass the budget. It’s this minority caucus that holds the key to the Constitutional Budget Reserve.
It’s time you tell your representatives to stop bullying Alaskans and support the House Republican compromise to bring this special session to an end.
Rep. Ben Carpenter was elected in 2018 to serve as the representative for House District 29 — Seward, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Sterling, Funny River, Salamatof and Nikiski.