The Alaskan Economy

As everyone knows, Alaska is in a recession. We are now in the third year of this recession. The leadership in Juneau has failed us. They have done what they should not do – take away money from the people and tried to impose additional taxes. This has worsen the recession.

The leadership in Juneau has not done what should be done- encourage economic activity and diversification (growing the pie). The solution for this recession is not new taxes and taking money from the people. The solution is to encourage economic activity and economic diversification. How is this done? the following are just a few examples:

1. Encourage and promote a stable fiscal environment for businesses and investments. “Business is a coward, it flees uncertainty.”

2. Lead in the creation and maintenance of infrastructure needed for economic development, including responsible natural resource development.

3. Let the people have their full Permanent Fund Dividend- this will put more money into the economy, especially critical during a recession.

Crime – Public Safety needs to be a Priority

Most Anchorage residents know of someone whose car or truck was stolen. A friend of mine had his truck stolen twice in five (5) months. Last week a local store clerk told me her truck was stolen and our handyman’s old Jeep was stolen with his tools inside while in a convenience store.

I voted no on SB 91 because I knew as a prosecutor that it would encourage crime. On the House floor I described it as the “catch and release bill”. SB 91 has in fact been a disaster for our communities- it has turned our criminal justice system upside down and has encouraged crime. It is an experiment that is costing the community dearly. I promise to do the following when elected:

1. Support the repeal of SB 91.

2. Fight for more resources for the criminal justice system (prosecutors and law enforcement officers). As a former prosecutor, I know that the criminal justice system has been historically underfunded.

The Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) Check Grab – Thousands taken from each of us

Thousands Taken from you and your family

Thousands of dollars has been taken from each woman, man and child… Per one calculation (Brad Keithley), $2,399 has been taken from each of us in just in the past two years (2016 & 2017). Per another calculation (Jim Crawford) $3,295 has been taken from each of us in the same past two years. The Governor started the raid of your dividend check in 2016 and the Legislature continued the raid in 2017. For 2018, the Governor is again seeking to raid your Permanent Fund Dividend check.

Money Taken From the Economy

At least 1.2 billion dollars has been taken from the Alaskan economy! This has taken money from an economy that is in recession – the wrong move to make!

More Than Just Your Money

The PFD check raid has made Millions less available for charities, child support ($ is taken from those in arrears of their child support obligation), court fines and restitution owed to victims of crime.

A Secret – Not One Penny of Your Dividend was used to fund state government!

To add “salt to the injury” the money taken from each of us was not used to pay for state government. Instead, it was parked in the Earnings Reserve account of the Permanent Fund, and later redeposited into the Permanent Fund corpus. The Earnings Reserve account has approximately 15.3 billion dollars (1/31/2018) and is not the corpus of the Permanent Fund. The corpus has approximately 66 billion dollars (1/31/2018).

I oppose the raid on your dividend check. There are more productive ways of dealing with budgetary shortfalls, such as economic development and dealing with state spending, waste and inefficiencies.

The Proposed State Income Tax

The Governor for the past two years has been requesting that the legislature enact a state income tax. The Democrat led House majority has voted yes. I oppose a state income or payroll tax for many reasons. First, this tax penalizes the worker- you get less of what you tax. Second, it takes money from the economy – the wrong move in an economic recession. Third, it is not necessary at this time if a better job is done in addressing economic development and diversification, and state spending.

Developing Alaska’s Resources – “Growing the Pie”

Lately there is an obsession with getting into the peoples’ wallets. Instead, the leadership in Juneau should focus on developing the bountiful natural resources of Alaska.

The State can encourage and partner with private enterprise to expand and diversify our economy. For example, over the past 25 years the Red Dog mine has provided good employment for many Alaskans (the average annual salary for mining jobs is now $106,000) and distributed billions of dollars to 12 regional Native corporations. The State of Alaska initially partnered with Red Dog mine and issued bonds to help it become operational. All that money has been paid back to the State. I promise to encourage and support initiatives that will improve our economy and provide jobs.

We have great new oil prospects such as Hillcorp’s Liberty Project, Caelus’ Nuna project, the Pikka project and Smith Bay. The State should support the infrastructure that will enhance the viability of these projects and bring them to market.

I Vote on the Merits of Each Bill

I will vote on the merits of each bill. How is it drafted? What will it actually do? I will not vote on the buzz of the moment. I will always oppose well-intended, but poorly drafted, legislation such as SB 91 (the so-called Crime Reform Bill that ended up putting more criminals back on the streets). As a former prosecutor, I knew this bill would be a disaster for our community.

Work Across the Aisles

When possible, I will strive to work across the aisle to benefit the people. The two bills I sponsored and which became law had numerous co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. As an example, I sponsored HB 234, a telemedicine bill that increased access to mental health services and will improve the health of many individuals. Another example is HB 147, a domestic violence and pet bill that I sponsored. This bill benefits the community.