Voices

Stop the presses! Those nasty ol’ Alaska Republicans are at it again, wrecking government, sowing ruin, keeping poor people down and coddling the evil oil industry -- at least that’s the agitprop peddled by Democrats and their union pals as they try to justify hijacking the legislative process for their own political ends.

What the House minority Democrats want -- and cannot publicly admit -- is House GOP majority agreement to spend about $80 million in savings Alaska cannot spare on things Alaska does not really need, before they will vote to tap the Constitutional Budget Reserve and balance next year’s budget...

Paul Jenkins

Fred John, a son of the legendary Katie John (Tsucde, pronounced "schook-da"), is 72; I am nearly 70. We have been friends in Delta since 1976. We both lived in pre-pipeline Alaska, a time before the land was carved up and labeled and in an era when, it was said, there was just $5,000 in Fairbanks. When that money came around to a merchant, he paid his bills. A time before prosperity. As Jerry Isaac, former president of Tanana Chiefs Conference, told me in 1998: “The era of fur trader John Hajdukovich and my uncle Chief Andrew Isaac was a much more intimate time between Native and non-Native....

Judy Ferguson
Stand your ground, Dems

I entreat the Democratic minority to please stand your ground, protect the Permanent Fund from the GOP majority. Do not cave to the bullying, ever-arrogant posturing of Sens. Pete Kelly, Anna MacKinnon and Mike Dunleavy. Crafting a budget is not a “my way or the highway” proposition. The GOP majority is not practicing representative government. Alaskans want Erin’s Law passed (the original one), the Taj MaHawker abandoned, the Bragaw Road extension eliminated, oil tax credits delayed until Alaska’s fiscal house is in order, and of course Medicaid expanded. Alaskans know the Democratic minority is not asking to spend more, rather, to spend differently. We know Kevin Meyer and Mike Chenault’s op-eds are not factual. We will not be fooled....

Alaska Dispatch News
Is Chenault attempting a coup?

Omigosh! What happened? When did we elect Mr. Chenault as our governor? Or does he hold some higher office? Is this a coup? Or just another Alaska “reality” show where our Legislature attempts to get on national airtime imitating Wisconsin? Confusing when what one says defies what one does. — Gwenn Jester-Haslett Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

To protect Alaska’s children against sexual predators and ideological zealots, I’d like to propose a new amendment to the Alaska Constitution. I’m calling it "The Children’s Bill of Rights." Those rights should include:

1. The right to learn about their bodies, including sex education, what causes pregnancy, and information about gender and sexuality.

2. The right to learn how to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

3. The right to age-appropriate information about sexual abuse and where to go to stop it.

Why is this necessary? Right now, even with the deplorable rate at which children are victimized in Alaska, some of our legislators are trying to strip kids of these rights...

Marcelle McDannel

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