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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Careful Consideration Is Needed

By Rep. Dan Ortiz


March 04, 2015
Wednesday AM

Getting our state’s fiscal house in order by establishing a sustainable operations budget plan should be the Alaska State House of Representatives main priority for this legislative session. It’s in the best long-term interests of all Alaskans that the Legislature significantly reduce our 3.5 billion dollar deficit while supporting programs that spur economic growth.

I am serving on the finance subcommittees for transportation, education and fisheries, advocating for the interests of our district and the state as a whole. While the chairs of these committees have been making significant reductions to every geographic region, there is a lack of thorough and careful consideration of the impact that these proposed reductions, will have on the economies of those regions. There is the potential to seriously damage our state’s economy and job market. If the cuts are too deep they can also derail the health and well-being of Alaskans and reduce opportunities for young people.

I have grave concern that reductions to the Alaska Marine Highway, the state timber sales offices, Fish and Game, libraries, public radio, and to education, will damage economic opportunities across the state. For, example Alaska has an active, sustainable timber sale program that generates 30-40 jobs in in southern Southeast alone. Closing those timber sales offices now, particularly in a time when federal timber sales have become almost non-existent, would virtually eliminate timber related jobs in our region.

Instead of aiming for a specific number or overall percentage cut to spending, we must analyze and consider the reductions. Public input is key. Ketchikan residents have an opportunity to comment on Wednesday, March 4th between 3:30-5:30 at the Ketchikan LIO, in the old White Cliff building. Please join your friends and neighbors, and speak up for the programs important to you.

Rep. Dan Ortiz
District 36
Ketchikan, Alaska

District 36 includes includes Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Saxman, Hydaburg, Hyder & Loring.


Received March 02, 2015 - Published March 03, 2015


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