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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Open Letter: Strongly Oppose SB 21

By Joe Samaniego and Chaz Rivas


April 13, 2013

Dear Senate President Huggins, Minority Leader Ellis, Speaker Chenault, and Minority Leader Kerttula,

As students, we are writing to express our strong opposition to SB 21, which would reduce the price that oil companies pay to Alaska residents for our oil.  This legislation represents a multi-billion dollar theft which will eviscerate Alaska’s secondary and higher education system while compromising our state’s economic competitiveness.

Our oil wealth is like the public’s bank account.  We should only use it on those crucial state functions which provide a strong return on investment, and no resource is more important than Alaska’s human capital.  Rather than squandering our oil wealth on a giveaway, the legislature should invest proceeds of oil production in high-yield areas like STEM education while continuing to save money in the Statutory and Constitutional Budgetary Reserve.

The majority has flat-funded secondary education classroom education for three years straight despite growing revenues, which has produced inflation-adjusted education cuts and hundreds of layoffs across Alaska.  Your budget this year once again fails to fund the completion of the University of Alaska’s engineering facilities in Anchorage and Fairbanks, even though the majority found $74,000 in new money for a new cigarette lounge at the capitol. 

Now is the time to turn around the majority’s abysmal record on educational investment.  Passing SB 21 would only accelerate the erosion of Alaska’s competitiveness which is the direct result of flat-funding secondary education and failing to invest in STEM at all levels.  Your choice in clear:  Invest in Alaska’s competitiveness or break the piggy bank on behalf of Outside interests.  Please put Alaska first and reject SB 21.


Joe Samaniego
Chair, Alaska Young Democrats

Chaz Rivas
Treasurer, Alaska Young Democrats
Wasilla, Alaska


Received April 11, 2013 - Published April 13, 2013


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