April 6, 2017

This week we close out our Budget Basics series with a final comparison of proposed plans to solve the fiscal crisis. Scroll and click to learn more about: 

  • Coffee Dates with Ivy--Cancelled

  • Budget Basics- Compare for Yourself

  • HB 123- Medical Price Transparency

  • Opportunities to Testify

  • Upcoming Events
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Due to a floor session this Saturday, I am sorry to have to cancel our coffee date. Please reach out to my office with any concerns or policy feedback.
I look forward to seeing you next month!
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Budget Basics: Compare for Yourself
  ^Transportation includes motor fuel tax funds, consisted with passage of Governor's motor fuels tax
**SB 26 Provides $141 million more from PF than HB 115 via steeper PFD reductions.
* Income tax would take a year to implement, FY 19 projection used.

All units measured in millions
As we close out our Budget Basics series, I leave you with a comparison of plans presented to solve the fiscal crisis facing the state. We have talked about how a 90% drop in oil prices left us with a $2.7 billion deficit that must be filled to protect the services we need to make Alaska a great place to live, work, and raise a family. As you can see, the House plan creates stable revenue stream from several different sources, allowing everyone to pitch in for the cost of services to the state, and eliminating the devastating impacts of oil booms and busts on our state.
We have spoken about the importance of everyone sharing the cost of services the way that we do in a family, where everyone contributes what they can. It is important that the plan we have moving forward be fair and balanced. As you can see, the House plan makes sure that people pay their fair share relative to their income. This approach minimizes the negative impacts to household finances that could significantly worsen the recession we are currently experiencing.

We talked about cuts that have already gone too far and undermined basic services in the state, like the cuts to troopers and the prosecutors office, as well as proposed cuts that would devastate the university, public education, domestic violence shelters, and food banks. These spending cuts will result in significant job losses. See the chart below for a comparison of spending cuts and job losses.
No doubt we are at a critical point in Alaska State History. The decisions we make in Juneau this session will determine the magnitude of our recession, and how quickly we can recover. We will continue to post opportunities for public testimony as plans develop. I look forward to hearing more of your feedback as we continue this work.
HB 123: Medical Price Transparency

Today the House considered a piece of legislation I am very proud to sponsor. HB 123 is a bill designed to empower health care consumers to make informed decisions about their healthcare by requiring health care providers to have a list of the 25 most frequently provided services posted in their reception area, on their website, and on the Department of Health and Social Services website. It does the same for health care facilities, asking for the top 50 requested services due to the broad range of services they provide.
Rep. Spohnholz before the first bill hearing on HB 123.
HB 123 is not a silver bullet, but it is a constructive step in the right direction—getting real information about health care costs in the hands of consumers so that they can make informed decisions. 

I am proud of the support that we have received on from individuals, businesses, and doctors for this bill. Please continue to reach out to our office with your innovative ideas.

Keep in touch!