From Senator Jesse Kiehl <[email protected]>
Subject Welcome to the Real Deal With Kiehl!
Date December 24, 2021 10:52 PM
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Jangle Bells Jangle Bells December 24, 2021 Dear Friends and Neighbors, Happy Holidays to you and yours! I get to spend a little time with family this year—I hope you get to ring in the new year with loved ones, too. Here's wishing you a healthy, happy 2022 to you and yours! Happy Holidays from our office family to you and yours! Biden Bucks are Coming to Town We’re less than a month from the regular legislative session. The governor released his new budget proposal last week and he definitely remembered it’ll be an election year. Suddenly, funding for programs he's repeatedly vetoed for are at the top of his priority list. He’s trying to have it both ways: jingling the notion of finally funding services Alaskans need while jangling the package as 'decreased government spending.' But the fact is, you can’t do something for nothing. The budget is actually an increase over last year, by more than 100 million in state funds. Don’t get me wrong, we ought to stop skimping on our state. This budget offers some good things—fully funding school bond debt and the rural school fund, boosting funding for Medicaid, rural public safety, community assistance, and more. The ferry budget, using almost 100% federal dollars, pitches significantly increased service. The boats would run whenever they’re not getting needed maintenance or overhaul. But this is not a sustainable budget. It relies on a brief spike in oil prices we can’t count on to last. It also counts on a huge influx of federal dollars through both the pandemic relief bills and President Biden's infrastructure bill. That money will do a lot of good, but it won't last forever. If we just pass this budget (which also adds hundreds of millions for bigger PFDs,) we’d set Alaskans up for massive budget cuts the next year. The one after the election. We can use the federal windfall and quick hit of oil income to build a bridge to a stable future for our state. The governor's budget misses that opportunity, so the legislature has some fixing to do. "In FY2023 federal receipts will be available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The FY2023 operating budget represents an increase in planned service weeks and port calls and eliminates all service gaps, providing consistent service levels to communities throughout the year. Boats will only be out of service for regular maintenance and operating services, not as a cost savings measure." An excerpt from the governor's AMHS budget proposal. Alaska hasn't seen that much ferry service in a very, very long time. Alarm Bells Jingle, Are You Listening? Our state has budget problems. If you’ve so much as glanced at these newsletters, you know our troubles would be vastly worse without the Permanent Fund. The fund gives us earnings to pay out PFDs and pay for services, with very low taxes, for decades to come. (Assuming, that is, we get our act together and implement some low taxes before we drain the fund.) The Permanent Fund is so successful because it’s independently managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, largely removed from political bickering. The executive director in charge of the fund for the past seven years, Angela Rodell, saw it through record growth, beating investment targets left and right. She also warned against the long-term consequences of overdrawing. That’s why sirens went off when the Corporation’s board summarily fired Ms. Rodell. No warning. No plan of correction. No missed benchmarks. No public discussion. A few days before the fund was named one of the best places to work in investing in America. It was a 5-1 vote. All five of Gov. Dunleavy’s appointees voted to fire her. The one Gov. Walker appointee voted to keep her. The legislature will hold hearings on the unexplained firing next year. We’re all on guard for efforts to drain or politicize the Permanent Fund. Without the independent, non-partisan expertise we’ve relied on to manage the fund, Alaska will be up a creek without a paddle. On that cheerful note, set this all aside for just a bit and take some time with the people you love. We’ll talk more in the new year. All my best, Did someone forward you this newsletter? Did you fall into it through the series of tubes? Want more? SUBSCRIBE Events & Happenings Around District Q Juneau New Year’s Eve Don't miss New Year's Eve with the former ladies of the Supremes and local artists. Music! Comedy! Raising money for Helping Hands! Juneau Drag Show You don’t want hair of the dog on New Year’s Day, you want a drag show. Ring in the new year with one of the community's favorite events! Juneau Artwork The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is hosting Avery Skaggs’ artwork Jan. 7th. Home: Disability & Creativity in a Pandemic—check out his subtle and expressive style. Juneau Recycling You can recycle your Christmas trees AND support the Juneau-Douglas High School Cheer team. All without leaving home. One day only: Jan. 8th! Haines Avalanche Course 'Tis the Season for fun in the snow. Don’t ruin it with avalanches! Learn more in a Recreational Avalanche Course. There are three levels, including one that culminates in a visit to Eaglecrest in Juneau! Skagway Winter Lights & Decorating Contest You still have time to enter the Skagway Winter Lights and Decorating Contest! Free entry and open to all, but you must submit applications by Christmas! Skagway Holiday Town Walk Skagway Arts Council is hosting a Holiday Town Walk through the Christmas weekend. Holiday spirit, videos, festive lights, and decorations! Skagway Christmas Eve Skagway Eagles Aerie #25 is hosting its 80th annual Christmas Eve Program! 80 years running!! Santa and his elves are coming Christmas Eve: music, story time, presents, and fun for all! Is there an event in our district I should know about? Please call or email! Snail Mail? Alaska State Capitol Room 419 Juneau, AK 99801 Call: 800 550 4947 907 465 4947 Email Me! ‌ ‌ ‌ Contact My Staff, the people who power the work: Edric Carrillo 907 465 6419 [email protected] Cathy Schlingheyde 907 465 6827 [email protected] Senator Jesse Kiehl | Alaska State Capitol, Rm. 419, 4th Avenue & Main Street, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by [email protected]
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