Voices

Appalled by tax-credit discrepancy

As a lifelong Alaskan, I was appalled to learn we are paying more to the oil companies in tax credits than we are earning in production taxes. This means, in the next year, we will face a net loss of $400 million to the oil industry.

There is emergency oil tax legislation pending in the Alaska Legislature that would provide a short-term fix to this situation, but it has not received a hearing yet. Please contact your senators and representatives in the Legislature, and ask them to ensure Senate Bill 96 and House Bill 174 are scheduled for a hearing this session.

— Kristi Wood Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

With a turnout of only 25 percent, Anchorage allowed another skewed election that leaves us with only the most liberal and conservative candidates in a runoff. The two centrist moderate candidates, Andrew Halcro and Dan Coffey, arguably with the most management and Anchorage-based issue experience, were left in the dust by their narrowly focused opponents. Without the leavening effect of a larger electoral turnout, we empower polarizing candidates at the expense of more moderate voices...

Dan Bonney

Gov. Bill Walker has nominated Robert Ruffner, executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum and a resident of Soldotna, to fill a seat on the seven-member Alaska Board of Fisheries. If Mr. Ruffner is confirmed by the Alaska Legislature we will have one member each from Kodiak, Dillingham, Huslia, Petersburg, Soldotna, Fairbanks and Talkeetna, but no representative from the area with the largest population in the state. Serious questions of this nominee are in order given the long dominance of Kenai fishery commercial interests and institutions in Upper Cook Inlet salmon management, often at the expense of sport and personal use anglers in the rest of the Southcentral region...

Kevin Delaney

I doubt you hired your Legislature to cut hundreds of teachers, career counselors and support positions in your public schools. Damaging educational opportunity isn’t a way forward. Telling parents that the state has no commitment to public education, and forcing them to think about raising their children out of Alaska is a recipe for losing those parents, and the important skills they bring to our economy.

We can do better before this session ends. We want to come out of this session with an economy that is moving forward, not one that takes us toward the risk of recession...

Rep. Les Gara

I awake from the refuge that is sleep and smirk with complacency. It is the last day at one of the nation’s toughest wrestling camps, the J Robinson 28-day Intensive Wrestling Camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rising at this hour normally would have me hating life, but this is different. In fact, I enjoy walking down flights of stairs and into the 100-degree-plus weather. Nothing could ruin my mood today...

Joshua Roetman
Alaska drank the Kool-Aid

We now apparently believe that our state, which holds $75 billion is savings (combined value of Alaska Permanent Fund and Constitutional Budget Reserve) and which levies no income tax or sales tax, is broke.

Or so broke that it can’t fully fund basic services like education and transportation.

Here’s another example. Both houses of the state Legislature have eliminated funding for the two foresters that oversee the 283,000-acre Haines State Forest here in Haines. That shuts down an office that has operated here for 50 years and lays off the only foresters in a valley full of trees.

This is madness...

Alaska Dispatch News

There’s an old saying, “Don’t tell me what your values are. Show me what your budget is and I’ll tell you what your values are.” With a $3.5 billion state deficit, times are tight and significant cuts are in order. Unfortunately, the current budget proposal by the Republican state Senate has its priorities all wrong.

For starters, it fails to cut the pork. And by pork, I literally mean pork -- as in the budget contains over $2 million for a meat slaughterhouse that has lost state money for 29 of the last 30 years...

Sen. Bill Wielechowski

I’m writing this on a plane at 32,000 feet over Nova Scotia. I just watched the film, "Interstellar" -- a science fiction epic depicting a desperate search for humanity to find another planet to live on after we’ve exhausted our own food supply. The picture it painted was grim, though it did its job in making me contemplate the world we live in and will ultimately pass on to the next generation...

Mark Titus

“Bzzz. Bzzz.”

Just as I’m about to fall off to sleep, I turn around and look at my phone. It’s a Facebook notification. I have a message from Chase Dawson (a pseudonym). Knowing him only by a mutual glance at a high school wrestling tournament months before, I am surprised and a little confused that this person would be messaging me at this hour of the night.

This boy is a star athlete, a high-honor high school senior, and a very good-looking guy with a football scholarship and a ton of potential.

“Hey, I’m Chase,” says the message.

“Hi, I’m Savannah.” I answer, still puzzled...

Savannah Kramer
Aleutian time zone is fine

Initially, I thought Sen. MacKinnon’s daylight saving time bill was fantastic, but after seeing the recurrent TV ad put out by the businessmen of Alaska, I took another look at what is being proposed. Because the bill wants to change our time zone to a different one, remaining on a singular time in Alaska would not be feasible for our state. Hawaii, like us, is on Aleutian time. That state does not observe daylight time. It appears that the sky has not fallen and leaving their time on regular time works for them. They continue to do the same things as we do, except we go through the twice yearly ritual of changing our time. Why wouldn’t remaining on Aleutian time and not observing DST work for us?...

Alaska Dispatch News