Capital move should not be a priority

Posted: Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Are these our priorities? Cut funding for the Head Start program and sign a blank check for relocating the legislative session?

An excerpt from the Anchorage Daily News on Feb. 19 said, "A House budget subcommittee Monday, February 18th, sliced more than $1 million out of Gov. Sarah Palin's proposed budget for Head Start and other early education programs, a move that incensed Democrats who say the state's kids desperately need such schooling. State Rep. Kevin Meyer of Anchorage chairs the Republican-controlled finance subcommittee that made the cuts.

"But Meyer said he and other lawmakers are trying to do what Palin has asked - control the growth of state spending. The finance subcommittee on education looked for fat to trim and found some, he said."

Now read:

House Bill 293, entitled: An Act relating to the location of the convening of the Legislature in session and to the relocation of functions of state government; and providing for an effective date.

Nowhere in the title of HB 293 do I read, "... and Repealing All Alaskans Right to Know and Approve of Costs Associated With Relocation of the Legislative Session," also known as the Fiscally Responsible Alaskans Needing Knowledge (FRANK) Initiative.

On the last page of HB 293, at Page 11, Section 16, a very nondescript sentence reads: "*Sec. 16. AS 44.06.050, 44.06.055, and 44.06.060 are repealed." This sentence repeals three statutes very important to all Alaskans.

Section 16 repeals Alaskans' right to know the relocation cost, the right to approve of the procedure for determining the relocation cost, and the right to vote on or approve the cost once determined.

At the State Affairs Committee meeting, Rep. Meyer stated that now is the time for the legislative session to relocate due to the surplus budget. Representative Meyer said himself that he does not know how much it will cost to move the session; and by repealing the FRANK Initiative, he is ensuring that the citizens of the State of Alaska will not know either.

Judging by the content of HB 293, it is safe to say that the sponsor's definition of transparency in government is that all Alaskans should close their eyes and hand over a signed blank check for his cause. Is this how we "control the growth of state spending?"

No thanks, Meyer. May every Alaskan vote to retain the laws, our laws, that you are attempting to remove; and make it clear to you what our priorities are. Hold on tight to your rights, Alaska.

Deb Senn


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