Energy crisis counts as a 'Rainy Day'

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I respectfully ask for the attention of our Juneau Assembly members. I am extremely concerned about the current energy crisis and economic impacts that we are facing in Juneau.

I want to see some significant and timely area-wide relief from the expected surcharge (for diesel fuel) for all who pay for energy in Juneau - individuals, families and businesses.

I believe that our Rainy Day Fund needs to be used (not loaned) to pay for the entire cost of diesel fuel needed to supply all of Juneau with power while the lines and towers are out of commission. This fund was generated from property taxes paid by the people of Juneau in case of an economic disaster (A.K.A. "Rainy Day"). If this is not an economic disaster, which has the potential of very far-reaching consequences for Juneau, I don't know what is.

We need to act quickly. Many of us do not qualify for low income relief but are property and/or business owners who may be pushed to the breaking point by sudden astronomically high electric bills.

As a teacher in the Juneau School District, I am very aware that school populations in Juneau are declining. If we think we are experiencing a "brain drain" now, wait until our young people get their first inflated electric bill. Since many are not yet vested in the community as property and/or business owners, they can easily move away and sink their roots somewhere else.

While I realize that Gov. Sarah Palin is proposing an energy credit for all Alaskans, this will take a while to implement. We need to do something now for ourselves. We have the ability to do this. We need to show the rest of the state that we are willing to invest in ourselves.

Mary Jane Tenney


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