Results of the District O Survey and Public Testimony Opportunities
Above: Kenai Peninsula Fire and EMS Leadership in the Capitol to discuss issues with the Legislature
District O Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to the 866 of you from District O that completed our survey. This information is extremely valuable to me as I work to understand your values and choices while I work for you here in Juneau. I know that not everyone likes the question and answer choices, but our team does our best to provide likely scenarios facing us here in the Capitol.

Your comments were also appreciated and although I have answered most of the comments when an email address was provided, I still have a few to go to answer them all. There were over 300 great comments and suggestions for items not in the survey...only a few of them containing expletives that I won't discuss here.

Many will disagree with the results of the survey. These are your answers (if you completed the survey). These are raw data numbers from actual survey results. These are not a reflection of how I feel about these issues, but instead a reflection of your thoughts and feeling within the available answers to the questions. Statistically speaking, this is a healthy data set that likely accurately reflects the philosophy of District O.

Feel free to contact us with community news, as well as important District O constituent accomplishments that we can recognize by emailing us at [email protected] .

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to represent you here in Juneau and for taking the time to read this newsletter.
District O Survey Results
I will provide brief comments on several of the key survey questions and the results. This particular question is interesting because it illustrates a key conflict we struggle to work through in the Legislature. We know we must reduce wherever possible in order to help make ends meet, but many Alaskans care about the funding of constitutionally required services, such as education. However, the contrast between the two primary choices presents an ironic outcome.
We will continue to experience the fiscal roller-coaster ride of feast and famine in Alaska's future until we pass an effective constitutional spending limit to force us to prioritize and account for spending. I co-wrote and handily passed a spending limit in the Senate last session, which was not heard in the House. I have worked together with other Senators on both a statutory and constitutional spending limit this session and feel very strongly that a spending limit must pass the legislature this year!
Over half of District O constituents believe that state spending is still too high. I happen to agree that costs must be reduced wherever possible to help manage our way out of this difficult situation. However, reductions must be related to smart restructuring (which can actually deliver more significant reductions) and not a dramatic reduction in constitutionally required services.
The two above "Where to Cut / Where not to Cut" charts have been relatively consistent year-to-year in our district with the University and Medicaid being favored for reductions and Public Safety, Education and Senior Services being favored for retaining current funding.
I frankly expected a more even split on the "Governor's Budget" question in our conservative district, or perhaps more than 50% in support. For a better idea of what this means policy-wise, it would have been informative to ask a follow-up question about what folks supported or did not support about the Governor's budget. I believe the Governor's budget was a valuable illustration of what a balanced budget would have looked like if we were to balance simply by reducing the budget by $1.5 Billion. Perhaps the only takeaway here is that perhaps 53.2% of District O constituents wanted a more balanced approach.
Folks in District O, like most Alaskans, strongly support the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). This question was asking them to consider their support for a larger (statutory) PFD if it requires broad-based taxation for funding. 57% seem to not support taxation to receive a larger PFD, However, 43% support paying a tax and receiving a larger PFD.
Similar to the last question, but this question asks if constituents would prefer cutting services to cover the cost of a larger PFD (instead of paying taxes). The Administration explained that a full PFD this year would result in a $1.5 Billion deficit, which would drain 75% of the remaining funds in the Constitutional Budget Reserve. 62.8% said no and 37.2% said they supported significant cuts in services for a larger PFD.
This question is somewhat of a crosstab of the previous PFD questions that arrived at a very similar result. Remember in this question, A & B required unspecified reductions, the No Tax, Smaller PFD option was favored here as well.
Constituents in District O continue to strongly favor only short-term support for the able-bodied and prioritization of social programs (Medicaid and Public Assistance) for those truly in need, such as the disabled and seniors. The State of Alaska spends more on social programs than any other category of spend and simply can't afford long-term assistance for a large proportion of those that can be working toward their personal goals, objectives, success and accomplishments.
All forms of taxation have pros and cons, impacts on the economy and obvious funding support for critical services. Although some of you have contacted me about your support for an income tax, District O constituents have repeatedly strongly supported sales over income tax, in this survey 68-32%.
I have personally been in a battle with the Department of Transportation for adequate winter road maintenance since prior to their public announcement about the closing of the Silvertip Station and the reduction of winter road maintenance on the Seward and Sterling Highways. The 76% support for a fuel tax increase in this question, as well as constant calls from the public for solving the safety issues on the highway led me to support a moderate increase in fuel taxes that have not been increased since the 1970s.
I found this result interesting and certainly unexpected. This question closely mirrors the Option 5 "The Balanced Approach" in the Governor's 10 year plan on the OMB website. Read for yourselves, but if we have to go for a multi-tiered approach, this plan would certainly function to cover most of the deficit gap without unfairly dramatically reducing the PFD. It requires cuts, a spending limit, a 50/50 PFD, a small sales tax and a minor increase in industry taxes. 65.5% that completed the survey seem to support such an option.
The question dovetails into the previous question. If there was an adjustment to oil and gas industry taxes, where does District O stand? The largest category of support was a modest increase in industry taxes at 37%. Next was no increase or a reduction at 32%, followed by significantly raising industry taxes (the Fair Share initiative) at 31%. I have been clear that I do not support the initiative. However, I remain open to discussing slight to modest increases. If an "everyone gives a little bit" plan moves forward, an industry contribution should be included.
After our hard work to repeal SB91 and toughen crime laws on the types of sexual assault, drug and property crimes we are seeing in our area, I was pleased to see this dramatic improvement in the District O perception that the crime issue is improving. 76% of you feel that the issue is improving, satisfactory or better than expected. Only 24% feel the the crime response is declining. Again, this is a complete reversal of the negative opinion since prior to the repeal of SB91 last year.
Your opinions on the law enforcement and general crime response were 76% favorable, but only half of the constituents that completed the survey feel that the courts have been as responsive. We are evaluating staffing levels for prosecutors and ways to improve responsiveness, functionality and effectiveness of the courts to support a better outcome through the budget and statutory process.
Accuracy in survey data is important. This question was included as a cross-reference to test the accuracy of this survey versus other scientific surveys completed in District O where this question was asked. It is important to know where you stand on ANWR, but It is not currently a key issue in Juneau.
Access to Legislators in relation to the location of the capital in Juneau is always an issue for Alaskans, approximately 50% of you would like to see the Legislature meet on the road system full-time and 29% on the road system part-time.
Thanks to those of you District O constituents that completed the survey. I hope you found the results as interesting as I did. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the 2020 District O Constituent Survey!
Upcoming Public Testimony Opportunities


Friday , March 6, at 9:00 am
SB 30 - College Credit For High School Students (Sen. Stevens)
The sponsor statement is HERE
The actual text is HERE
Health & Social Services


Friday , March 6, at 1:30 pm
SJR 13 - Constitutional Amendment: Prohibit Abortion/Funding (Sen. Hughes)
The sponsor statement is HERE
The actual text is HERE

Friday , March 6, at 3:30 pm
SB 232 - Personal Use Fishing Permit Fees (Sen. Micciche)
The actual text is HERE

Call In and Testify

There are a limited number of phone lines to the Capitol, so plan to attend and testify at your local Legislative Information Office (LIO).

145 Main Street Loop, Ste. 217
Kenai, AK 99611
(907) 283-2030

302 Railway Ste. 107
Seward, AK 99664
(907) 224-5066

Call-In Number : (844) 586-9085 [Outside of Anchorage/Juneau]
Watch and Get in Contact with Your Senator

To watch hearings online go to legislative live meetings page here  at the time of the hearing and select the meeting.

To watch floor sessions and other hearings see  Gavel to Gavel archives.

To find your legislators and contact info go to the legislative home page here  and scroll to the bottom of the webpage where you'll see the “WHO REPRESENTS ME?” search bar in the lower right corner of the page.
Thanks again for taking the time to read my newsletter. As always, feel free to give us a call at (907) 465-2828 or send us an email with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. My staff and I are always ready to assist in any way we can.
Senator Peter A. Micciche
[email protected] | (907) 465-2828