Monthly News 
Hello from Juneau,
 
This week the State House passed the operating budget, House Bill 57, by a narrow caucus-line vote. The Democrat-led majority increased the Governor's requested agency spending, ignored cost-saving amendments, and will force income taxes and the unprecedented draw of $4.2 billion from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve. This budget does not reflect the reality of shrinking revenues and a growing budget deficit. In fact, the House majority budget increases the Governor's budget by $8.3 million.
 
Alaskans should know the state's financial situation is at a tipping point. Honest conversations about using the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve or enacting an income tax are critical now. We face difficult choices, however, with a projected $2.8 billion deficit, budget reductions are not optional, they are a requirement. Well over 100 amendments to reduce government spending were introduced by Republicans on the House floor, all but one were voted down by the Democrat-led majority.
 
The House Republican Caucus introduced House Bill 192 in session on Wednesday. This is a practical, long-term fiscal plan that calls for a spending cap, phased budget cuts over four years, and the use of Permanent Fund Earnings, not the principal, within a sustainable and structured framework that protects and grows the fund. 
 
I remain committed to reducing the budget, using earnings from the Permanent Fund ahead of any broad-based taxes, and helping lead Alaska toward a healthy economic future. We will keep you posted on our progress.
Committee News
Questioning Robin Brena during an Oil and Gas Tax presentation before House Resources Committee. 

All committee meetings are noticed online at 
akleg.gov. Here you can view meeting agendas, research bills, and see if a meeting is open for public comment. You will also find all pertinent meeting documents and an up-to-date schedule of events. I serve on the  House ResourcesLabor & Commerce, and  State Affairs Standing Committees.


Please contact our office at 907-465-4931 if you have specific questions or suggestions. 
Speaking on the House Floor to the operating budget, HB 57.

Around the Capitol  

Young Alaskans meeting with legislators about rideshare services, Uber and Lyft.

Co-sponsoring HB 43 naming the AHFC building in honor of Dan Fauske. 
Meeting with and learning about Hope Community Resources services. 

Welcoming members of the public at the Feb. 25 Anchorage Caucus meeting.
Constituent Spotlight

I truly enjoyed getting to see and hear from so many of you at the Anchorage Caucus meeting last month. Your input is appreciated and an invaluable part of the public process. The new format was well received, the meeting ran smoothly, and most importantly, citizen engagement was improved. 


Representative Chris Birch, District 26| 907-465-4931| Rep.Chris.Birch@akleg.gov | Website
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