Voices

Former Gov. Jay Hammond said this when describing the reasons he and others created the Permanent Fund: “I wanted to transform oil wells pumping oil for a finite period into money wells pumping money for infinity.” Once the money wells were pumping, “[e]ach year one-half of the account’s earnings would be dispersed among Alaska residents. … The other half of the earnings could be used for essential government services.”

The two-sentence constitutional provision establishing the Permanent Fund (Art. 9, Section 15) implements that vision. The first sentence locks away the “the principal” of the Permanent Fund, creating the “money wells pumping money for infinity.”...

Brad Keithley

The governor made Medicaid expansion and balancing the budget cornerstones of his election. Expansion is a red herring and discussing expansion deflects attention from the real issue: Medicaid in its current, nonexpansion form, is unsustainable and the state cannot balance its budget without reform. Once Medicaid reform has occurred, expansion can be explored. And when expansion is explored I believe it will be shown to be bad for Alaska...

Rep. Wes Keller

Somewhere high up in a London tower, BP's board members got a knee slapping laugh as they read Roger Marks' April 25 Alaska Dispatch News commentary justifying the Alaska Legislature's decision to take money from public savings and pay BP to haul our oil away.

Alaska's new oil tax base rate, 35 percent of profits plus royalty, puts Alaska among the lowest taxing major oil producers in the world...

Ray Metcalfe
It’s not only about the fortunate few

So according to Sen. Kevin Meyer (ADN, May 19) the blockade to a balanced budget is all the fault of the Democrats in our state Legislature. Seems to me the Democrats are holding out trying to get some help for the working class. The expansion of Medicaid would help 40,000 Alaskans with no insurance and on the low end of the income scale. But then, they probably don’t live on the Hillside where those residents are represented by Mr. Meyer. Meyer also manages to get a slap into his commentary about union workers; not too many of them reside on the Hillside either....

Alaska Dispatch News

Craven. Desperate. Unnecessary.

Those are three words I would use to describe the latest attempt by the House and Senate Republican-led majorities to justify their actions. Senate President Kevin Meyer and House Speaker Mike Chenault have each penned commentaries in the past week trying to blame the House Independent Democratic Coalition for the budget dispute. Don’t fall for it...

Rep. Chris Tuck

As Alaskans, we expect our elected officials to rise above ideology and partisanship to promote the best interests of the state. This year, we have been consistently disappointed by the legislative majority as it has time and again chosen to focus on strict adherence to a budget concept that leaves our schools underfunded and lacking any security going forward.

Two-thirds of recently polled Alaskans (Hays Research, April 2015) want the Legislature to restore the funds cut from our schools in the majority’s budget, and to see an end to the legislative games that are played each year with education funding...

Becca Bernard,Pat Galvin
Would Dusenbury want his friends vilifying teen driver?

In response to Jenny Burke’s letter regarding the sentencing of Alexandra Ellis (ADN, May 15), she mentions Ellis “knew exactly what she was doing,” when she drove after drinking and deserves 5-7 years in jail. The judgmental skills of young people are not fully developed, for one thing. And alcohol progressively impairs judgment. Ellis clearly did NOT know “exactly what she was doing,” nor did she have criminal intent. The state of Alaska is also partly accountable for issuing Ellis a license to drive. The U.S. military does the same thing. The difference is they train soldiers extensively and intensely before they authorize them to use weapons....

Alaska Dispatch News

What's happening? The Alaska Railroad Corp. has an agenda that is raising eyebrows from Anchorage to Alaska's congressional delegation in Washington.

First is the very controversial RRUP (Residential Right of Way Use Permit) program that was implemented last fall. Second is conversion of historical Railroad Right Of Way (ROW) easement into railroad Exclusive Use patented land. Or, "this land is your land, this land is my land, this right of way was made for you and me" -- wait, what's that you say? This land is now Alaska Railroad's land and they can fence it off or charge us to use it?...

Jack Brown

The Alaska Legislature is halfway through a special 2015 session to take up unfinished business, including the Alaska Safe Children’s Act (House Bill 44). Also known as Erin’s Law, the original HB 44 is a smart piece of legislation that would bring sexual assault awareness and prevention education to all students in Alaska who desperately need access to information to protect themselves.

However, not everyone agrees. This week, Sen. Mike Dunleavy and the state Senate Education Committee did all they could to stop HB 44 and put sexual assault survivors at risk in Alaska...

Jessica Cler

What would it be like to have a full-service, professionally staffed emergency department ready to meet the needs of people who live and work in Eagle River and South Anchorage? As an emergency department physician who has cared for patients in Alaska for many years, I believe that diversifying and enhancing access to emergency medical care is critically important for our community.

There is a fair amount of misinformation going around the community about the freestanding emergency department model (FSED) and its role in the health care continuum. Before Alaskans can make a decision as to what they believe is the best course of action, I think it is important to clarify some of the misperceptions...

Jennifer Dow