Straight outta Juneau: Won't back down on income tax
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Sunday, June 13, 2021
HomePoliticsStraight Outta Juneau: Won’t back down on income tax

Straight Outta Juneau: Won’t back down on income tax

Special Session: The taxing House Democrat-led majority posted this photo this week to show their determination to stand tall for taxing working Alaskans. Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux of Anchorage was missing.

‘WE WON’T LEAVE UNTIL WE TAX YOU’: 

One week from tomorrow, pink slips will go out to 20,000 or more state employees. They are being told by the Governor and the House Democrat-led majority, that unless Republicans cave on income taxes, they’ll take this budget to the brink.

The Democrats’ strategy is to prevent passage of the state budget for 2018 unless they get an income tax to skim as much as $700 million from working Alaskans.

Rep. Chris Birch, a Republican from South Anchorage, posted on his Facebook page earlier today: “Disappointed that the House Democratic Majority has made up their collective mind to send out pink slips to state employees next Thursday, June 1st. By slow rolling the budget and conference committees, killing time on non-fiscal issues, and insisting on a job killing income tax on Alaskans, House Majority Democrats are purposefully running out the clock.”

Birch was referring to the newest bill in town, HB 159, which the governor introduced as part of the Special Session, and which has nothing to do with the fiscal crisis. At 30 pages, it is a bill that would create databases for opioid prescriptions and licenses. Although opioid use is a serious problem in Alaska and the rest of the country, Birch expressed doubt that it should be at the top of the list for special session at a time when the Legislature’s only duty is to pass a budget.

“Given the crushing impact addictions have had on our families, friends, neighbors and Alaskans I welcome the debate but would have preferred first engaging this subject last January,” Birch wrote.

At the end of the first week of special session, little work has been done in Juneau on either an operating budget, or much of anything else. Most Republican lawmakers have returned to their districts because no meetings are scheduled, and those legislators who stay, such as Justin Parish of Juneau, are getting $250 a day in per diem. For guys like Parish, this is the dream job of a lifetime. Last year, salary and per diem gave lawmakers between $10,590 and $11,610 per month during session.

The word throughout the political circles are that no work will be scheduled until after Memorial Day. That will leave lawmakers with about 15 days to finish, or the governor can and probably will call a second special session.

June 1, however, will most likely come and go with no budget passed, since House Democrats and the governor are insisting on an income tax and no meaningful budget cuts — in fact, the House budget is $200 million larger than the one the governor proposed back in December. And Senate Republicans have said that the income tax is their Hamburger Hill: They’ll defend it no matter what the personal or political cost to them.

That means pink slips go out on June 1. And, as Must Read Alaska Senior Contributor Art Chance has written on these pages, without a passed-and-signed budget, State government ceases to exist on July 1.

 

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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

  • When you idiots learn what a budget is and only then can this be discussed further.
    I got one wouldn’t let any single one of you even try to balance my checkbook without the dreadful fear of going bankrupt.
    Are you not the same jackasses that talked about a personal chef.
    Get off your a*** and make a fucking sandwich like the rest of us
    Keep your greedy f*** hands off my hard earned money .!!!!

    • Very very well said. Hope v someone listens. Kick the *u king out of staters out of Prudhoe Bay while your at it

  • Send the government packing, send the pink slips, shut the damn place down, just maybe they will figure it out if nobody gets a paycheck for a while!!

    • Oh Nooos! “They” want to add 60+ warm bodies to “administer” the tax. Sarc/

    • This won’t be a federal government fake shutdown; there really is no authorization for the State government to do much of anything after midnight on July 1. I don’t think many Troopers, Correctional Officers, or other vital employees will simply abandon their jobs, but they’re basically volunteers after midnight on July 1 and there is all sorts of mischief to be made by unions and lawyers with employees “volunteering” to do their regular job without pay.

      I was chatting with a friend who knows his way around government better than most and even he said, “but they can’t strike.” This isn’t a strike; this is more like an employer lockout; the State is saying we can’t pay you, so you’re laid off.

      State employees are entitled to one more paycheck for their work in late June and then that’s it, and there are some real questions about how those paychecks get produced because the people who do the payroll are laid off too. There is no reason to expect the State employee unions to do anything to lessen the impact; this is, after all, the union-owned Governor and House Majority at odds with the Republican Senate majority. The unions have to work the calculus of how much they’re willing to endanger public health and safety in furtherance of their aim of avoiding any cuts that would impact Democrat constituencies or result in any cuts to State employee pay or numbers. ASEA’s Jim Duncan is a principal owner of the Governor and House Majority, but his position isn’t really one of power. He represents most of the State’s low-level employees, the one’s who have no savings and are one paycheck away from bankruptcy; those people will panic when they get those layoff notices and actually getting laid off on July 1 is something beyond their comprehension. Nobody has been here before. I got close to strikes a few times, but even in a strike by a big unit, you still have the employees doing the vital health and safety jobs and appointee level management at work. I’m glad I’m just watching rather than trying to keep somebody changing the bedpans at the Pioneer Homes and the doors locked at the correctional facilities.

  • Wipe the grins off your faces you pathetic public SERVANTS!!!

    I don’t see anything funny about a tax! Why don’t you all pack up and go back to liberals ville where you came from.

    There isn’t one of you that could make it in the private sector. You have been on state welfare too long and lost touch with reality.

    • Evening folks, I just have to get this off my chest.

      “Back in the day” 30 years ago I was a new Anchorage municipal employee when oil prices dropped and the City was faced with some hard choices. I believe we had competent management at the time. In short, there were reorganizations, layoffs, work hour reductions, and other measures utilized to address the late 80s budget crisis.

      From the news I read, there have been no efforts whatsoever to manage the current “crisis”. Aside from the politics of the day, I believe much can and should be done to manage the “crisis” before imposing statewide taxes, especially in the highly progressive form we saw in HB 115. If the managers can’t or won’t manage, they need to go! Now!

      Or do we need an income tax to persuade financiers to back the Gas Pipeline to Nowhere????

      • Why manage our finances responsibly? That requires tough decisions, while they are obviously all to busy standing around smirking.

        • How true! By the way, “pursuade” = “persuade” in the last sentence above.

  • Taxing the people will only allow the government to continue to spend frivolously and live above its means. Let’s start by cutting the salaries of lawmakers as well as their per diem.
    I think the tax from cannabis is going to be more than enough to save an income tax.

  • Greedy P.O.S. someone needs to wipe that smug smirk off your fat faces go back where you came from, you are any true Alaskans you’ve never worked a real job ever just get tge f#! $ out of here

  • What a bunch of stubborn baffoons argh ?

  • Instead of taxing Alaskans that have already given up half their dividends, how about examining your very poor spending habits! Enough is enough. Quit living high off the hog and create a budget with the resources that are actually collected. Quit making Government bigger and stop spending two dollars for a paper clip. Examine the expenditures of our Government agencies and get rid of bottomless purse mentality.

  • Recall every a$$hat in Juneau that thinks our income belongs to them. Put actual adults in their place. Then amend the rules to say that every time they have to be in special session, they owe the state $250/day – start paying back the perdiem. They also collect no salary during that time. Additionally, if the state shuts down, there will be no taxes collected during the period of the shutdown. If you can’t do your job, there’s no reason we should have to pay you.

  • Pathetic. First place they should start is with their outrageous per diem. Especially the guy that LIVES in Juneau. ? Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency for the rest of us. Cut the budget… not add more money to pay for it.

  • Keep standing around, it’s what the Alaska House does best! Right next to giving everyone else’s money away. By all means though, don’t cut a penny from you own salaries or per diem (while you continue to stand around) or get rid of you chef, or your public nurse who makes over $400,000 per year. Don’t manage any current programs responsibly, that might lead to capitalism rather than the socialism you are all standing around waiting for.

  • I know Justin Parish personally and I can tell you the man donates his per-diem to charitable causes. So let’s get that bullshit out of the way. Also, working here in Juneau for the State and no such thing as 16,000 pink slips are going out. I don’t where you came up with that horseshit. You guys might want to get out of the fake news business. I hear it’s not very popular these days.

      • Please don’t confuse him with facts; they are troublesome things.

    • Dingleberry, may I refer you to the State’s labor agreements and the Personnel Rules? If there isn’t a budget in place on June 1, the State must give layoff notices to all members of the classified and partially exempt services of the Executive branch and quasi-governmentals administratively attached to the Executive Branch. See, dingleberry, we have this Constitution thing that requires there to be an appropriation before money can be spent. Almost all appropriations expire just like Cinderella’s coach at midnight on June 30. So to be technical about it, Dingleberry, not that you’d understand anything technical, The notice that must be given in June 1 isn’t the actual layoff, it is a notice that the employee is subject to layoff effective July 1 for lack of funds if there is not a budget by that time.

  • I think many Demos are going to pay for this at election time!

  • I for one believe we should have an income tax. No, I am not now nor have I ever been. However, as a local citizen for 36 years, I appreciate and value the services we all receive from the government. By the way, make yourself aware of the layoffs and furloughs that have already been enacted. In addition, travel freezes are in place as well as hiring freezes. If you live in Anchorage you just heard that 220 teachers have been laid off. State cuts in education funding caused that.

    • You’re drinking the Lefty/union/Democrat KoolAid; there have been almost no, certainly less than a hundred layoffs. The teachers that were laid off are non-tenured and that is par for the course at the end of the school year if the budget isn’t yet settled. Travel freezes are meaningless; anybody who is anybody who wants to travel gets to travel. A “freeze” is just an easy excuse to say no, and hiring freezes are just a way to make sure the Governor’s Office gets to approve every hire. Maybe when you get far enough up in the government to have a clue what is going on you’ll understand.

  • While its ok to be angry, its more important to do something about it. And that’s exactly what a small group of citizens did in Homer after discovering what some of our council members had in mind for our little city. We weren’t lawyers, activists, or community organizers, but we knew if we didn’t do something soon, we would loose our town. My advice is to make the commitment to do something. If we do nothing, the state of Alaska will be flipped. Get on the phone and organize. Get together with friends and neighbors and make a plan to recall these frauds. Our little group just delivered a decisive defeat to the ACLU last week in superior court. We can do this, but it takes action, not talk.

  • After watching what a small determined group just did in Homer, it gives me hope we can still save Alaska from the Marxists who have invaded our state as of late. It’s time to declare war.

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