Advocacy/Legislative Update 5.15.20

I’m Back!!!  Did you miss me?

Sorry for the break in updates folks but it felt like we were all getting a lot of COVID news sent to us and people were adjusting to new working and living realities…so I just hit pause.  But we are all adapting nicely, we are heading back to work, we are enjoying the spring air (and the massive amounts of birch pollen – achew! Bless you).

I will not send out COVID stuff here – you have already all seen all the memes – unless it ties directly to federal and state legislation.  Happy to see you all again!!

Oil Prices are not great..aka Alaska is Broke

If you think that the Juneau budget discussions have been heated the last few years, well hold on to your seat because things are going to be really tense next session. 

Even if the price of oil rebounds (see the graphic below for an eye-opener) the state will have a deficit moving into next year EVEN BEFORE FACTORING IN A DIVIDEND CHECK.  You read that right.  For the last several years part of the reason that the dividend check has been so contentious is that we were dipping in to savings to pay for state services and now the savings are gone, gone, gone.  The legislature has nowhere to go.  They must cut services (to the tune of $300 million) to balance the budget with no payout, or cut it even further (to the tune of $1 billion) to send you a check.  It’s getting’ hot in here….  More of this uplifting news here.

CARES dollars held up in Court…again

A Juneau resident has filed a lawsuit against the state of Alaska to temporarily block the distribution of federal pandemic aid. If a Superior Court judge approves that pause, more than $908 million in aid payments to municipalities, small businesses and the fishing industry will be put on hold. Story here and slightly different take here.  The money is part of a bigger chunk of change that each state got under the CARES act that the Governor told everyone he was going to use to shore up his budget vetoes.  So that isn’t happening.

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