Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka warns that the continuing federal budget battle could impact essential services.
But she says it’s hard to tell where the ax will fall.
“We could see programs that we have spent decades building up and working and just will disappear in the budget acts as they deal with those federal deficits,” she said.
She told those attending Juneau’s Native Issues Forum on Wednesday, Feb. 22, to be ready for a last-minute call-to-action if major programs face significant cuts.
At the same time, Kitka expressed optimism about Native Americans’ chances in the coming year.
She pointed to an upcoming conference in Washington, D.C., cosponsored by the Center for American Progress. The think-tank is closely tied to the Obama administration.
“It’s one of those opportunities (where) you make of it what you can. It may turn out to economic development issues that could pop out of this and get done. It could be renewable energy. It could be regulatory changes or a whole array of things,” she said.
Kitka said the conference is a major focus for AFN during the last year of the Obama administration’s first term.
- The co-chairmen of the House Finance Committee revised their plans to introduce an income tax to Alaska for the first time in nearly four decades.
- The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is in full swing. In less than a week, the fleet has caught over half of its quota. And while most crew members work on the water, spotter pilots fish for herring from the sky.
- A lot of eyes were on the U.S. House today, but, as Republican factions shuttled to the White House to negotiate, it was a day of waiting for most.
- Gov. Walker’s legislation creates a new definition for independent contractors that would determine whether employers have to pay to insure against on-the-job injuries.