What are your priorities for the state budget?
U.S. House of Representatives
As your congresswoman, I would not play a role in the state budget process. However, I have always held that the priorities for the budget, state and federal, should be what Alaskans care most about: education, healthcare, and public safety.
I have always maintained that the state is best served by developing its natural resources. Resource development will guarantee good jobs into the future, which will increase and maintain the state budget. Through resource development the state can sufficiently fund education, health care, and infrastructure needs. However, the decision on how to prioritize the state budget needs to be decided by state voters and the state legislature.
Fund public education and other constitutionally-mandated services, including law enforcement.
The candidate has not submitted a response to this question
My top priority for the budget is education, which is why I strongly support Mark Begich’s “Invest in Alaska” plan, which will constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund and ensure that half of the earnings go to pay the Dividend, as Gov. Jay Hammond envisioned, and that the other half would be reserved to fund education. This would remove two of the most contentious topics from the legislature. Once politicians stop debating the size of the Dividend and pink-slipping our teachers, they can get to work putting Alaska back on a long-term, sustainable fiscal path.
(There has not been a fiscal gap in “the Budget”) To correct; the -$10,381,246,000 that is wrongly posted in ASSETS, the -$10,266,329 in Unassigned Funds (page 177 2017 C.A.F.R.), & the $-1,852,907,000/$1,852,907,000 that have been transposed (page 178) and redirecting unrestricted revenues historically destined for the General Fund that that have been diverted into Off-Budget Assets, back into the General Fund.
My fiscal plan would:
- Constitutionally protect the PFD (estimated over $2,000 per person this year), inflation-proof the Fund, and guarantee funding for pre-K-12 education;
- Reform delivery of government services – implement creative solutions to modernize government, increasing efficiency and saving money;
- Move from a one-year budget process to a two-year budget to create fiscal stability and certainty;
- Stop paying cash for capital budgets by using general obligation bonds to provide a stable, structured approach and a six-year capital plan; and
- After taking the above steps, bring together the Legislature with communities, experts, and others to determine the most effective and targeted ways to deal with new revenues – but none that fall disproportionately on Alaskans who can least afford it. We cannot cut our way to prosperity.
We need to keep a laser-like focus on the essential priorities of public safety, schools, roads, and natural resource management. Spending on programs that are not constitutionally mandated should be scrutinized carefully to identify savings.
The fiscal gap can and must be closed by reducing state spending to a sustainable level, and by growing the economy through natural resource development. Discipline on the spending side is crucial. If state spending is not controlled, no amount of taxation or raids on the Permanent Fund Dividend will be enough to rescue us.
A narrative has emerged in recent years that we simply can’t reduce spending any more. Many Alaskans do not agree. The most recent state budget spends over 10 percent more than the previous year. Alaska has the nation’s highest per capita government spending — double or triple the amount in many other states. This is unsustainable. As governor, I will introduce significantly lower budgets, and use my veto pen to control spending.
House District 33
I will fight to get a long-term fiscal plan in place. I will work to see that we don’t spend down our savings and continue to cut services for the public. My priorities are: balanced state budget, affordable accessible health care, renewable energy, and public education.
I will fight for education. Our future lies in a quality education for our children. I will work to bring down health care costs in Alaska so senior citizens can afford to stay in Alaska. I will build an economy that keeps Alaskans in sustainable jobs. I will make sure Juneau remains the capital. I will defend our natural resources.
Getting a balanced budget. Infrastructure and capital projects, education, Alaska Marine Highway: these three will be my main priorities.
House District 34
Education (including early learning, K-12, career technical programs, university and job training), public safety (salaries and benefit compensation, opioid, substance abuse and mental health treatment, reforms in law as to provide for accountability measures for crimes), reliable transportation (ferries, roads, harbors, airports), health care, and local infrastructure projects.
I want to map out a long-range plan for how to use and distribute the draw from the earnings reserve between the PFD and the general fund. We need to focus on delivering essential services as effectively and cost-efficiently as possible, and we need to fund critical infrastructure. I support forward funding for education and will advocate for getting Juneau Access back on track.
Senate District Q
The main priority for me on a budget is to come up with a stable budget that we can count on from year to year. With the boom-and-bust budget we have been living with, we cannot have a stable economy that people and business can plan ahead with any certainty.
It’s past time for Alaska to stabilize the state budget so the private sector can grow unhampered by the roller coaster of oil prices. With a sustainable budget, Alaska can make the targeted investments we need in education, public safety, and building and maintaining our infrastructure.
Getting there takes a number of tools. First, parts of our oil tax structure don’t make business sense for Alaskans as owners of the oil. With targeted reforms, Alaskans will get the best value for our resource. Second, we must protect the Permanent Fund. I support a constitutional amendment that sets a maximum draw and establishes a split between essential services and dividends for Alaskans.Third, we need to connect a healthy, growing economy with the services government needs to provide to support that economy. An income tax is the best way to do that because it means nonresident workers — who earn about 20 percent of the wages in our state — contribute.
With a sustainable budget, we’re far less likely to see countless pink slips sent out to teachers and public servants each year — treatment our dedicated workers don’t deserve.