Sen. Shower opts not to join majority - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Sen. Shower opts not to join majority

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Sen. Mike Shower, just one week into his term in the Alaska Senate, is following in the steps of his predecessor Mike Dunleavy, and has decided not to join the Republican-led caucus.

His concerns and his decision involves budgeting issues and the growing size of the State budget. Caucus members stick together on the budget. Without being a caucus member, he will likely have just one staff person assigned to him and will not be included in important caucus meetings.

“As the budget stands today, and with a governor and House majority wanting increased spending, it’s likely there’ll be a budget increase more than our district would support at the end of the process,” he said on Facebook today.

“All members of a majority caucus must agree to vote for the budget no matter its size. For this reason, I’m unable to commit to be a member of the Senate Majority caucus at this time. I believe we need additional cuts, not an increase in government spending. I appreciate the Senate Majority members who have been very gracious and welcoming. However, I need to focus on the priorities of District E.”

The governor’s proposed operating budget is $4.7 billion, larger than what he proposed last year and the same budget he signed off on at the end of last year’s budget wrangling.

But with more than $200 million in supplemental requests, Gov. Bill Walker’s budget actually is pushed to nearly $5 billion in this fiscal year.

Shower, who was chosen by Walker to fill out the term of gubernatorial candidate Dunleavy, is concerned that the House Democrats and the governor will overpower the Republican Senate and force spending even higher, like they did last year. Another Valley Senator, Shelley Hughes, also stepped out of the caucus last year and remains out because she can’t support a growing budget during a time when revenues are not meeting expenditures.

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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

  • Figures

  • This is the moral decision for any Republican to make. Senator Shower still has the option of voting for the 2019 budget of course, but right now the House Majority is on track to approve a whopping increase over 2018 even without accounting for the phony supplementals we think will be enacted. But committing today to vote for a budget that may well be another huge increase in spending is a poor decision for any elected official and an immoral one for any Republican. So thank you Senator Shower for choosing to take the high moral ground.

  • Speaking of moral decisions. My morals tell me that handing out “dividends” while running a $2.5 billion annual deficit is not moral. It is also stupid because the IRS scoops off a portion that could be used for Troopers and the Courts. So anyone that proposes to “enshrine” the Dividend in the Constitution has lost my vote.

    • I don’t agree. I think that Alaskans best know how to spend money. However, you probably agree with me that an income tax concurrent with the PFD would be absolute stupidity, and that is all the more true because of the federal income tax situation. But the PFD belongs to Alaskans, and whether we spend it on government, on our families, or on something else must be up to us instead of up to the circus going on right now in Juneau. Even if I don’t entirely like the PFD program (and I can opt to not apply for one), I dislike government spending much more. But I respect your point of view.

    • I am in agreement with you Chris.

  • Silly capital projects most that are over budget or have failed completely.

    A school system that will eventually close up to 1ate0 schools and still has an expanding maintenance budget. But on what schools. What if they close.

    A state budget that has increased every year since 2004 by >80%, but population has only increase by 10%. Low inflation to boot.
    Sen. Shower is my hero.

  • OMG!

    This could be a problem!

    What if this outsider recognizes budget BS for what it is…

    and demands an audit of state finances and management practices before deciding on a “budget”…

    What if this upstart decides Alaska should not do “business” with Communist China…

    Hopefully, our lobbyist-legislator team’ll figure out what to with him…

    before he really messes things up…

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