“Unfortunately, the success of the criminal justice reform provisions in Senate Bill 91 has been hampered by continued ill-advised budget cuts. This resulted in fewer State Troopers to investigate crime and prosecutors to ensure criminals are brought to justice.
“In an attempt to save the economy and protect jobs, the members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition passed a comprehensive fiscal plan that sets us up for a prosperous future. However, the Senate Majority continues to hide their head in the sand and pretend it will all be okay.”
– Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, in a press release from the House Majority.
What Tuck didn’t say: The Senate, at the request of Sen. Mike Dunleavy, moved $50 million from Gov. Bill Walker’s gasline project into essential programs including more prosecutors and $10 million for the Alaska Department of Public Safety to hire more state troopers.
However, the House of Representatives, led by Democrats, reversed the funding for Troopers and prosecutors with these easily available monies. The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. had $110 million in its accounts in May. In October, it has more than $70 million remaining for FY 18, and is spending $3 million a month.
Additionally, Alaska has $12.8 billion in the Earnings Reserve Fund of the Permanent Fund, which Democrats have not allowed access to until Republicans agree to initiate a tax to fill the $2.7 billion budget gap. Earnings in this fund could help meet budgetary requirements for several years.
The Alaska State Troopers has 300 sworn officers — one sworn officer for every 2,500 Alaskans. AST has 147 civilian personnel.
Rep. Tuck wants to hear from Anchorage about these and other matters in advance of the Special Session, which starts on Monday. Attendees may ask him why House Democrats will not fund Troopers even though monies are available.
Tuck is hosting a town hall meeting on crime on Saturday from 2-4 pm at Elim Cafe, 561 W. Dimond Blvd. He says he wants feedback before he goes to Juneau, where he will consider the governor’s payroll tax proposal.
Those who cannot make the meeting may contact Tuck at (907) 269-0240.