(L-R) State rep. Sam Kito, Senator Dennis Egan and State rep. Justin Parrish.
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Juneau's state legislative delegation asked for action on a state fiscal plan just days before the Alaska legislature convenes.
There was a full house at the Mendenhall Valley library Thursday night as constituents showed concern about the state government, its fiscal crisis, the Marine highway system, airport and transportation funding, health care spending and other issues.
State Senator Dennis Egan said this session worries him because its an election year and he doesn't expect anything to get done to stop the gridlock. "Tons of gridlock. We have to come to some sort of conclusion so we can handle these things as people of the state of Alaska and not as regions. We can't fight against each other. We have to come up with a solution that is best for the people of the state."
State representative Justin Parrish said the oil tax structure needs to be changed and the permanent fund needs to be protected. He said the legislature in recent years has spent $12 billion from reserves and he described that as "wildly irresponsible." He compared it to being on the titanic with an iceberg ahead and saying, don't worry, its melting. "Most of the spending was by previous legislators, the majority that I helped to replace. The spending in the absence of a fiscal plan is profoundly irresponsible. That is why I hoped pass a fiscal plan to the senate in the first 90 days I was in action. I hoped that they would do the responsible thing so we don't keep spending down our savings and our children's savings."
State representative Sam Kito said he was also pessimistic about the chances of a broad based tax being approved. He said the state faces a near $3 billion shortfall and don't have the savings to cover that debt. He said the state government has made significant cuts in the past few years, "We are around 17-20 percent reduction in the past three years. That has had a significant impact on the services we provide to the state. We have done as much cutting as I'I feel comfortable doing. We have to figure out how we are going to pay for the services we provide Alaskans."
The next legislative session begins on Tuesday.
More from News of the North
Thread Offers New Data on Childcare in Alaska
Juneau, AK (KINY) - A new tool in helping address a lack of early childcare in Alaska has been launched.
Juneau Chamber wants $2 Million earmarked for North Douglas Crossing study
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau Chamber of Commerce is squarely behind the resurrected effort to build a North Douglas crossing.
3 finalists for CBJ Community Development Director position to participate in Assessment Center
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Juneau is close to hiring a new Community Development Director.
Police falsely report death
Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) A two year old child was struck by a stray bullet in her own home.
Skagway Assembly meets
Skagway, Alaska (KINY) The Assembly worked on the proposed budget and other items at a regular meeting.
Pedestrian struck and killed
Wasilla, Alaska (KINY) An investigation continues after a fatal crash Sunday.
Media barred from covering Palin
Palmer, Alaska (KINY) A judge kept the media from coverage of a court appearance for Track Palin.
Can buffalo change global warming?
Haines, Alaska (KINY) A dozen bison are headed to Siberia from Alaska as part of a study on global warming.
CBJ Committee of the whole meets
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) New flood maps and a presentation on the location of the borough wide recycling program highlighted the meeting of the CBJ Committee of the Whole tonight.
Trade Relations with China Improved with Good Timing for Gov Walker's Visit
Juneau, AK (KINY) - The same day Governor Walker and dozens representing Alaskan business landed in China, leading officials from the United States and China announced that they would be taking measures to ease the trade tensions between the two countries.
CBJ Lands committee meets
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) An update on Indian Point and a discussion of Douglas cemeteries highlighted the agenda of the CBJ Committee meeting Monday night.
US Files Plea Deal in Deadly Florida Airport Shooting
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal prosecutors filed court documents Monday in which an Alaska man agreed to plead guilty to a Florida airport shooting rampage that killed five people in exchange for a life prison sentence.