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EDITOR, Daily News:
As the House representative for District 36, I’m writing to update you on some of the issues currently before the Alaska State Legislature. The 2019 legislative sessions were challenging — we continued to grapple with creating the budget, implementing a long-term sustainable fiscal plan, and address declining revenue.
While we were able to hold fast on funding for departments like Fish & Game and Education, the Alaska Marine Highway System faced unprecedented cuts. During the interim, I have been focused on re-establishing the AMHS link to Prince Rupert. I will continue to push this issue until we see a long-term commitment by the Alaska Department of Transportation to keep Southeast connected.
New sources of revenue were not addressed, and funding for the budget continues to come predominately from our oil resources and a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings. I am an advocate for policies that will promote as large of a dividend as possible while maintaining funding for essential government services and allowing for growth in the overall value of the permanent fund itself.
Our democracy works best when people stay engaged and informed, so thank you in advance for your involvement. I’ve created a short survey that can be found online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2NFDXCH. It provides information on our current fiscal situation and will help better inform me as I make decisions for the district next year.
My number one priority is to make myself available to you in order to hear your concerns and viewpoints. Now is the perfect time to reach out — the governor’s budget will be published by Dec. 15, and the legislative session will start on Jan. 21. As always, feel free to email me at Rep.Dan.Ortiz@AKLeg.gov, or call my office.
REP. DAN ORTIZ
House District 36