Last Tuesday afternoon I was sitting in my home office in Anchorage (working on taxes, actually) when I received a call, telling me that HB 311, this session’s version of a bill first introduced by Rep. Charisse Millet in 2013, was up for hearing before the House Finance Committee at 8:30am the following morning. The bill, which requires the Governor to submit as part of his annual budget the “sustainable budget” number calculated consistent with the “Goldsmith/ISER” approach, had received two hearings in the prior legislature (2013-14) (here and here) but hadn’t received any attention from the Committee this session prior to the call.
As I described in my subsequent testimony, the approach contained in the bill could be used as a fiscal plan (which I have advocated in the past), as a spending cap (which I also have advocated) or as a spending guide.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to talk about sustainable budgets, by 8:30am the next morning I was in Juneau, with a presentation which combined my thoughts with those that Dr. Goldsmith previously had submitted in support of the bill (the slidedeck is below).
During the presentation some confusion resulted from the fact that the version of HB 311 in front of the Committee was the one originally introduced in 2013 during the previous Legislature as drafted by Leg Legal, which misinterpreted the approach and did not reflect the changes which had been worked on subsequent to its introduction. A copy of the corrected language interlineated into a subsequent “work draft” which conforms to the approach discussed during last week’s hearing is available below.
The video of the hearing itself is also available below, or from the Legislature’s website here. There are two other bills ahead of HB 311; the testimony for HB 311 begins at 1:30:35 into the hearing.
In closing the hearing Co-Chair Rep. Thompson indicated that the Committee would be open to continuing its consideration of the bill once the Committee Substitute incorporating the corrections made to the original bill were submitted. A subsequent discussion of the bill the day following this hearing was cancelled. It has not been rescheduled, but it is possible the substance of the bill may come up again in amendment form in the course of the Committee’s consideration of a larger “fiscal reform” package.
The materials follow.
Until the Republican Party forces its candidates to demonstrate adherence to the Party Platform in the form of a sworn statement/oath, or face the loss of Party support, I don’t see how we can expect our legislators to do other than sway in the political wind.
My legislator complained to me about the influence of those who call them and demand they act this way or that. She said they feel that they ‘have’ to act upon such demands. I told her, why? We voted them into office, because we expected them to act in our best interests according to the values they expressed during the campaign. We hired them to act their beliefs, not to be swayed by politics. Lora Reinbold has been the only Republican to hold to her conscience. The rest are just “there”, swaying the wind.
Our only recourse is to identify the RINOs and get rid of them over the next two elections.
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, but until the R Party becomes what its Platform demonstrates . . . well, we have what we have. Of course, removing the Legislature to the road system would help.