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Bill Stoltze, candidate for Alaska Senate District F, answers questions about the issues

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published October 29, 2014

Bill Stoltze, Republican

Alaska Senate, District F

Why are you running for office?

After serving in the House, the last six years in leadership, I am running for the Senate because I was strongly encouraged by numerous Wasilla, Palmers, Butte and Chugiak residents, and my Valley Colleagues to run for the open seat.

I would like to continue on economic development and transportation priorities; Fairview Loop, Eagle River Bridge (Brake Light Hill) and numerous others. I believe I am the best candidate running who reflects the priorities and values of the district.

The biggest problem facing the state of Alaska is ___:

The biggest problems facing Alaska include; a decline in petroleum production which accounts for 90% of our state revenues; the growth in the budget, largely driven by three factors k-12 support, Medicaid & welfare growth, and growing pension obligations. In the Valley our greatest challenges include; keeping up with transportation infrastructure for the fastest growing area of the state. We are also constantly working to build new schools for our growing population.

Describe three ways in which the state should try to grow and diversify Alaska's economy

In the Valley, I have worked to help fund Transportation Infrastructure- as well as the Point McKenzie Rail Spur. We need to continue to make our educational system relevant on our economic realities with more emphasis on Vocational readiness and career orientated vocational and technical training. I have a strong record of supporting this direction.

Get government out of our way. Too frequently government is the biggest obstacle to those seeking to create economic opportunities and Jobs

What amount of state spending do you believe is sustainable? If cuts need to be made, where should most of the money come from, the operations budget or the capital budget?

We need to work towards a sustainable level; the first way is not to promise increased spending, Most Democrat candidates have promised increased spending in the three biggest cost drivers; K-12, retirement and Medicaid welfare. For the next few years we can reduce the Capital Spending, but that can last just a few years. Both Capital and Operating Budgets need to be reduced; but it can't be done rapidly or we risk shock to our economy. We need to resist new spending proposals

What additional steps can the state take to promote construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope?

I am not totally comfortable with the level of State involvement with the Gas line proposals, but we are at this point, probably closer than we have been before, with all the players at the table. The result of the Nov. 4th Governors election will determine whether we scrap this progress and go back to the "Study Board".

The voters have chosen Senate Bill 21 or the More Alaska Production Act to generate most of the state's tax revenues. How will you determine whether this tax structure is effective? Do you think any changes should be made to the law in the upcoming legislative session?

The new law has been in effect for less than eleven months. ACES was in place for seven years. The people rejected the referendum, so it should be left alone for a few years. If promises have not been kept, the Tax policy should be looked at.

The state's savings is being depleted. How low should the savings go before you begin to seriously discuss implementing a widespread tax, such as as a sales or income tax, or reducing Permanent Fund Dividend checks to help pay for services?

The Permanent Fund, Which I strongly support cannot be touched without 2/3 vote in the Legislature and a majority vote of the people. I believe there will be much less of a draw on other savings accounts-; SBR and the CBR after the 3 billion withdrawal to address the unfunded pension obligations. I support the public's involvement in any decision regarding taxes that some may want to impose, should that option be brought forth

Should the state subsidy program for films and reality television programs continue? Explain.

No. I do not believe funding reality shows are a higher priority than roads or schools. The $300 million program provides some benefits, but nowhere near what the State Subsidy provides to outsiders.

I commend the writer of this question on the language of Subsidy rather than tax credits as this industry for the vast majority pf participants pays no taxes.

Taxation on oil and gas production in Alaska is:

N/A

Taxation on other industries in Alaska is:

N/A

Taxation on individual citizens in Alaska is:

N/A

What are your specific plans to address the serious problems of leadership, morale and accountability within the Alaska National Guard?

I support a special investigator.

What are Alaska's three biggest education challenges? What is your plan to address each of them?

I support relevant and accountable education. This may be vocational or technical instead of college focused. Our challenge is to create a system that has at its core, a commitment to students and families, providing options that best serve them, not necessarily the NEA

The current funding formula broken. The only solution from the educational establishment has been more money into a leaky bucket. The MSBSD has been an innovative leader which has demanded accountability and worked for change.

What are your suggestions to increase accountability of public schools?

Schools are more accountable when there is more choice and competition even within. I will continue to support home school, charter school, online learning. Whatever works best for parents and families.

Would you support a constitutional amendment that would allow public funds to be spent on private or religious K-12 education? If such an amendment were to pass, would you then support voucher or some similar grant to parents of state funds that they could spend on private or religious education for their children?

I support Alaskans right to have the opportunity to vote on this criticized policy issue. Whether money would go to religious schools, or to the level available to private schools would be the subject of serious debate of both legislation as well as budget funding. I question the NEA objecting to this issue even being discussed.

What are your plans for improving the quality of education offered through the University of Alaska system?

As a UA graduate, I support a strong system. Even though I am running against a former UA professor/ Academic. I have the support and endorsement of the UA Academics, a university education group. I think UA tries to do too many things, in too many places. Each campus should focus on the things they do best. I would continue to let the University make internal funding decisions and keep politics out of this process.

Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act? Explain.

No, I do not at this point. Medicaid/ Welfare is one of the three greatest cost divers in our state budgets. Continuing pressure at the federal level will almost certainly put the obligations of providing these expanded benefits with no federal funding or greatly reduced federal funding in the near future

Are you confident that the current level of state environmental regulation and oversight of offshore oil and gas drilling and shipping is adequate to prevent a major spill in Alaska? If not, where are we deficient and what will you propose to achieve adequate protection?

I believe that shipping and lack of adequate Coast Guard coverage presents the greatest challenges. This will take continued joint efforts with our congressional delegation. At the pace of current movement in exploration activity, it appears we will have a lot of time to address these issues

What is your assessment of Alaska's transportation system? What, if anything, would you change?

Keeping up with our Valley transportation infrastructure needs. Knik Goose Bay Road, the Parks Highway, Bogard Road, The Glenn, Eagle River Bridge (Brake Light Hill) and Glenn Highway lighting are just some projects I have helped move forward.

I am disappointed by the slow pace and cost overruns of the Fairview Loop. Sometimes it seems DOT is just too big to be truly responsive

The Legislature has approved the use of state funds for four mega-projects: the Knik Arm Crossing, the Susitna-Watana dam and two gas line projects. Can the state afford all four, or should one or more be dropped? If so, which?

No. The natural course of events will eventually trim the list. The Gasline projects would merge, unless future events dictate a pipeline to Valdez.

Susitna-Watana's fate will be determined by the required FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory commission) process.

The Knik Arm project is a project which would spur significant economic development and growth. I hope it will proceed but it received a setback when it was placed under the Department of Transportation.

State your position on abortion. When should it be allowed, and when should government pay for it? Do you anticipate pushing any legislation, policies or budget proposals that would change the status quo in Alaska?

I am pro-Life. I do not believe government should pay for abortions. Like almost everyone I would ideally like to see no abortions, but will work within the confines of the law and court decisions.

I believe a parent has the right to be notified when a young teen or pre-teen is going to undergo this serious medical procedure.

When is it appropriate to appoint a non-Alaskan to a state board or commission?

Where provided by law. And no other tine. In those cases I believe that the out of state members should ideally be just ex-officio or a non-voting member. I disagreed with the administration and many of my colleagues is past session on out of state appointments.

Are you satisfied with the process by which judges are selected and appointed in Alaska? Explain.

No, I am not. I believe the non-appointed, non-confirmed Bar/Association has a disproportionate influence in selecting judges. Public members have to be appointed by the Governor and participate in confirmation hearings and be confirmed in Joint session. The legislative ethics committee requires a majority of public members. I favor that model. I also believe Bar Association members (lawyers) should be held to the same standard as public members.

The number of Alaska State Troopers and Village Public Safety Officers is ____ (More than necessary, about right, less than necessary):

Less than necessary

If you answered more or less, what specific steps would you take to achieve the right level?

We are partially through a multi-year effort. We are in an ongoing process of reaching the optimal goal of VPSOs in our rural areas.

We can probably never have enough troopers and wildlife protection officers to cover our vast state with our complicated transportation logistics.

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