SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Excessive Travel Expenditures Plan Irresponsible

House Finance Committee unveils schedule for community budget meetings Monday afternoon


March 18, 2019
Monday AM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - After learning through a public blog of the Alaska House Finance Committee’s plans to spend tens of thousands of state dollars to fly members around the state campaigning for an increase in government spending, Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (R-Wasilla) called the travel expenditures plan irresponsible.

Sullivan-Leonard said in a prepared statement, “After waiting nearly a month to organize the House, the fact that the Democrat-led House Majority now plans to spend tens of thousands of state dollars to fly members around the state campaigning for an increase in government spending in the middle of legislative session is astounding to me.”

“This is a great depiction of why the people of Alaska do not trust in their legislature – we’re in the middle of a huge budget deficit and House leadership wants to spend money that we do not have to try and advocate for spending even more money that we do not have. Other departments in the government are cutting their state travel budgets down by 50% or more – they didn’t give that money to the Democrat-led House Majority to spend for them," said Sullivan-Leonard.

“Additionally,” Rep. Sullivan-Leonard said, “it’s regrettable that members of the House Finance Committee were not made aware of these plans prior to their being made public by a blogger. Members of the House and Senate just spent weeks organizing town halls and caucuses in-district to hear from constituents. Spending precious dollars to peddle political motives in this way is disingenuous and irresponsible.”

jpg updated
Monday PM

The House Finance Committee early Monday afternoon finalized its schedule for the series of public hearings that will take place in communities across Alaska beginning later this week. 

According to this afternoon's House Majority Coalition's news release, while the House Finance Committee typically holds public input hearings in the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, the proposals contained in the governor’s budget this year would fundamentally change life for many Alaskans: everything from the university and K-12 schools to the Alaska Marine Highway System and Pioneer Homes are slated for deep cuts under Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposal.

Quoting the news release, "Given the historic nature of the decisions before policymakers and the fact that our savings accounts have been spent down, the committee is going above and beyond to listen directly to Alaskans. The hearings are the first of their kind in Alaska’s history."

“Cuts and efficiencies are possible and necessary, but these proposed reductions would have significant impacts on elders and youth, rural and urban residents, and every facet of our economy,” said House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham. “Because of this stark reality, all budget decisions must be informed by input from people across our state.” 


Friday, March 22 from 5-8 p.m. in Room 519 of the Alaska State Capitol, 120 4th Street, Juneau


Saturday, March 23 from 12-3 p.m. in Ted Ferry Civic Center, 888 Venentia Avenue, Ketchikan


Saturday, March 23 from 12-4 p.m. at the Mat-Su LIO, 600 E. Railroad Avenue, Wasilla 


Saturday, March 23 from 2-5 p.m. at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, 401 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway, Bethel


Saturday, March 23 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Soldotna Sports Center, 538 Arena Avenue, Soldotna


Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the Anchorage LIO, 1500 W. Benson Boulevard, Anchorage


Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at Centennial Hall Assembly Chambers, 330 Harbor Drive, Sitka


Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the Fairbanks LIO, 1292 Sadler Way, Suite 308, Fairbanks


Editor's Note - Tuesday MARCH 19, 2019

CANCELLED: The Ketchikan Town Hall scheduled for March 28th was cancelled on March 19, 2019 because of the announcement by the House Finance Committee Community Public  Hearing scheduled in Ketchikan on SATURDAY - March 23, 2019.

CANCELLED: A Town Hall meeting in Ketchikan was announced last week to take place on March 28th inviting citizens to provide comments on the impacts to the Community of Ketchikan related to the Governor's proposed budget.

MARCH 28, 2019 - 6:00 PM

The Ketchikan Borough and City Mayors and School Board President cordially invite the public to attend a Town Hall Meeting to hear presentations and provide comments on the impacts to the Community of Ketchikan related to Governor Dunleavy’s proposed FY 2020 budget. 

Members of the Borough Assembly, Ketchikan City Council, Saxman City Council, and Ketchikan School Board will be in attendance. 

Public Comments may be submitted in writing to the Office of the Borough Clerk or provided in person at the Town Hall meeting.

Mailing address for Borough Clerk:

Ketchikan Borough Clerk
Attention: Kacie Paxton
1900 First Avenue
Suite 115
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901


Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Alaska House GOP

Ketchikan Borough

Alaska House Majority Coalition


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