Letter: State’s budget deficit calls for discretionary spending

January 2, 2014 

With $2 billion less in oil revenue this year — and continuing deficits as far as one can see (the new GOP oil law won’t allow surpluses in the near or long term) — now is not the time to build a vastly expanded office building for Anchorage legislators. 

While Rep. Hawker (R-Anchorage) had his reasons, I think this decision failed to prioritize spending when we are facing massive deficits.  Under current rules, which should be reviewed, Rep. Hawker signed this office expansion contract without a legislative vote.

Spending an extra $2 to $3 million per year on legislator rent makes it harder for kids, students and those paying high energy costs to get a fair shake.

Rep. Hawker argued the current building crammed three Democrats into one office. Odd rationale. Last year Rep. Hawker expanded some GOP offices and shrunk some already smaller Democratic offices. Neither party should play “winner takes all.” We could have had roughly equal sized, comfortable offices without this expansion.  

And those bad building pipes? That’s why we had water coolers. 

— Rep. Les Gara

 D-Anchorage

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