Sunday, June 19, 2016

SB 128 PFD Dead - Sine Die

Deborah and Rep. Craig Johnson
The House gaveled out sine die last night, and Alaskans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Senate Bill 128, the Governor’s abolishing the PFD legislation is dead. I anticipate the Governor will call the legislature back for a special, special session to introduce a new PFD abolishing bill. I have spoken with my Representative Craig Johnson who is House Rules Chair and he shared with me that all PFD legislation will not get on the House floor. The public has spoken. So, the Governor and his special interest pals need to pack up and go home. It’s over.

The Governor chose to not lead, and cut the budget. Governor Walker has spent the last 18 months “grooming’ Alaskans to take their PFD.  Let us not forget Walker's special interests partners who have spent a year manufacturing a ‘the sky is falling’ sentiment that is scaring Alaskans. I’m sorry, scaring Alaskans is not leadership. Alaska has savings and the sky is not falling.

This Alaskan is not opposed to using the permanent fund for its intended use. The permanent fund was born for a rainy day. It’s a rainy day. However, the rainy day has been self-inflicted, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Alaska is not living within in its financial means, and Alaskans will reject using the permanent fund until the state gets its fiscal house in order. Period.

The Governor has always had the power to reduce your PFD by $1,000 utilizing the budgetary process, and his veto pen. He never needed PFD legislation to pass to reduce your PFD check to fund a bloated state government.

Cut the budget Governor, and muster up some fiscal responsibility that you promised Alaskans if you got elected. Then, and only then will Alaskans stand shoulder to shoulder with you and approve the using of our PFD wealth.

It is come come to Jesus time, and the question is, will Governor Bill Walker burn Alaska’s house down.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

GCI's Ron Duncan; the new Bill Allen?



Ron Duncan, GCI President and CEO sure does have his shorts in a twist all in the name of ‘doing what is best for Alaska.’  Seriously?   What Ron Duncan cares about is keeping his corporate welfare.  GCI received $5.1M in corporate welfare from the state of Alaska in 2015.  The $5.1M was obtained from the State of Alaska’s online checkbook, and does not include GCI’s Terra project dollars which requires a state match (so I hear).  Ask your lawmakers about the Terra project.  Talk to your lawmakers about GCI, and the AFL-CIO camped outside their offices.   OMG, what is GCI going to do with themselves if Ron Duncan is unsuccessful in bullying lawmakers to take your PFD?  You got it.  GCI will be holding the unmatched bag.  Alaskans didn’t take the money, GCI did, and now GCI’s financial woes have now become ours.

In addition, Arctic Fiber has rekindled their project of bringing broadband to rural Alaska. In May, Arctic Fiber was aquired by Quintillion Networks.  Why should you care about Arctic Fiber, and Quintillion Networks?   Um, Quintillion Networks is imposing in on GCI’s rural bread and butter. The Arctic Fiber project will bring broadband from Japan over the top through Prudhoe Bay, down to Fairbanks, and then down into Southcentral.  Gotta love competition.  It means lower broadband costs for the state of Alaska, school districts, and Alaskans. Especially, for our friends in the bush beginning in 2017.

Therefore, it is understandable that Ron Duncan would hire lobbyists, and bully, and threaten lawmakers to submit, or GCI will unseat them.   The pressure is on to abolish the PFD to keep the corporate welfare flowing right into special interests' pockets that includes GCI, and Ron Duncan is leading the charge.

Are you interested in taking the D out of PFD by tying your permanent fund check to an oil commodity?  Are you confident in an oil commodity that is volatile that requires the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) be the sole revenue generator for your PFD?  Especially, when TAPS is on the decline and increasing oil production is not a priority?

What Alaska needs is a Governor who will lead, and a Governor and legislature who will cut the budget to live within our means.  Not a Governor, or legislature advocating to reduce your PFD, and abolishing the PFD program as we know it.

Today is the day that will change Alaska forever, and it won't be about moving Alaska forward.

Call your House Representative.  


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GCI posts $8.9M loss in 4th quarter of 2015
http://www.adn.com/business/article/gci-posts-loss-grows-revenue-fourth-quarter-2015/2016/03/03/

Quintillion plans to deliver fiber optic cable and high-speed Interent by early 2017 http://www.ktva.com/quintillion-plans-to-deliver-fiber-optic-cable-and-high-speed-internet-by-early-2017-890/
 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

HB 247: My Senate Finance Testimony

My name is Deborah Brollini and I am testifying in opposition to HB 247.  I am testifying on behalf of myself. Unlike many who have testified on this bill my concerns are throughput through the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS).

I would like to remind Alaskans and the committee that our Trans Alaska Pipeline was shut down in 2011.  We were lucky that Alyeska pipeline, and its contractors were able to bring TAPS back online in a number of days and not weeks or months.   The Admiral Tom Barrett, President of Alyeska Pipeline has repeatedly spoke about the challenges of operating a pipeline below 500 thousand barrels per day.

TAPS production is tinkering at 508 barrels per day.  The cost of operating TAPS rises as oil production declines.  The state and Alaska’s oil producers, who are Alaska’s largest taxpayers and investors, like it or not, our futures are linked.  Alaska needs to stop its bipolar relationship with the oil producers, and start acting like the partner it should be.  

In closing, I want Alaska to be a player in a world oil market.  Unfortunately, Alaska lives in the moment, and not in the long-term.   I am not opposed to reducing tax credits to companies who have not contributed a drop of oil into TAPS, or who have not contributed a cent to Alaska’s treasury after years of benefiting from Alaska’s generous oil and gas tax credits.

I am for increasing oil production through the Trans Alaska Pipeline by increasing oil production from existing fields.   If we ignore the challenges of low oil production through TAPS we will have an 800-mile piece of Chapstick on our hands.

Oil prices will rebound, and its about how Alaska chooses to manage its checkbook, and our oil production through these challenging times.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Moter Fuel Tax Increase proposed by the Governor

Rep. Shelley Hughes
Representative Shelly Hughes

We’ll hear the bill again this week. What do you think? Last week the House Transportation Committee held its first hearing on the Governor’s bill, HB 249. Here’s what it would do:
  • Double the motor fuel tax for road vehicles (8¢ more per gallon)
  • Triple the aviation fuel tax (7¢ more per gallon)
  • Double the marine fuel tax (8¢ more per gallon)
  • Collect $49 million from Alaskan families and businesses per year

    Not only would the cost of travel for Alaskans increase due to this proposal, but because shipping and freight costs would rise as a result, Alaskan consumers could expect the costs of goods to increase along with the tax.
For those in our district, we realize that Mat-Su is not only home to thousands of daily commuters but is a large area where key destinations are miles apart. This tax increase is a big deal. A local roundtrip to a certain retailer or for a medical appointment can easily involve 15-20 miles. Bottom line: we buy a lot of gas. The motor fuel tax portion of this bill would translate into a disproportionate amount of the $49 million coming from our wallets into the general fund.

I’ll be chairing the House Transportation Committee on Thursday, February 4th at 1 p.m. when we’ll hear the motor fuel tax bill again. I’d love for you to chime in. You can testify by going to your local Legislative Information Office or if that’s not feasible, contact my office 907-465-3743 for call-in information. You can also send written testimony on HB 249 to rep.shelley.hughes@akleg.gov, and I’ll see that it’s included in the committee bill packets. You can watch the committee here. Stay tuned because we may provide another yet another opportunity for public testimony.