Inside/Outside morning news update for 12.15

  • Gov. Bill Walker will be submitting a new capital budget today at 1 p.m., which will include about $100 million of capital cuts from the budget that former Gov. Sean Parnell submitted. It’s not Walker’s final budget, but a start.
  • Ready your smelling salts; The Telegraph reports that OPEC is prepared to lower oil prices to $40 a barrel to further destroy Russian and U.S. shale competition while continuing to pump oil as business as usual. Kind of makes Bloomberg’s announcement of $55 a barrel for this week feel luxurious.
  • In Alaska Space Industry News, Lockheed Martin won the bid to reconfigure the Kodiak Launch Complex to launch bigger rockets, per the AP, which reports that the facility is sitting on a $25 million state appropriation. In 2012, the Alaska Aerospace Corp. told the Legislature that it needs $100 million in addition to the $25 million to launch those larger rockets.
  • Alaska Commons has the details on Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s (AOGCC) new rules for fracking in the Last Frontier.
  • Politico Magazine wonders if cheap oil will be the final nail in Keystone’s coffin.
  • Per CNN: “Uber has crashed into its latest public relations disaster after attempting to charge passengers inflated prices to leave central Sydney as a hostage crisis unfolded in the city.” After social media caught wind, the company began to offer free and reduced fares.

  • Now, it looks like if there’s going to be Medicaid expansion at all, it likely won’t be until the summer. If it happens, how this will impact regional health centers like the one in the Mat-Su is explained in the Frontiersman.
  • The National Labor Relations Board is finalizing the details to grant unions greater power to organize willing workers. The Hill has the details on NLRB’s Christmas gift to Organized Labor.
  • President Obama is trying to have it both ways when it comes to the torture debate, and is losing in the process, according to the New York Times.
  • Are GOP senators rebelling against Sen. Ted Cruz? A story in the Daily Caller says that there’s an “anti-Cruz mood” in the Senate. Against Cruz’s urging, 24 of 42 GOP senators, including all the GOP leaders backed the $1.1 trillion 2015 budget that also funds President Barack Obama’s unilateral amnesty.
  • The merger of the City and the Borough of Juneau will save the city about $300K and the Juneau Empire reflects how this is a sigh of relief for the budget conscience city.
  • The Democratic Party is in the middle of battling over its soul and its future, according to Politico.
  • Alaska Native News has a piece on the congressional passage of the land bill. Their headline says it all:  Congress Fulfills ANCSA Promise to Sealaska.
  • Now that the omnibus spending package has been passed, The Hill reports that Sen. Harry Reid is trying to finalize Obama’s nominees before Christmas Break and the end of Democratic control of the Senate.
  • Tomorrow will be a town hall meeting in Kenai by a coalition to discuss possible local marijuana policies. The Peninsula Clarion has the details. In Anchorage, residents will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed ban at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting.
  • The Seward City Council is moving forward toward implementing renewable energy in Seward by utilizing geothermal heat. The Seward City News was on hand for the city council meeting and knows the anticipated timeline.
  • The Washington Post lists 2014’s biggest political Pinocchio moments. Sen. Mark Begich’s now infamous Jerry Active ad didn’t make the cut, but other campaign claims did.

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13 thoughts on “Inside/Outside morning news update for 12.15

  1. AH HA

    @Lynn, No glee, Just a distinct memory of certain campaign promises that were delivered in a manner that clearly indicated he thought he ‘had all the answers already’ and all we needed to do was ‘vote for him’….

    Well them chickens are home to roost my friend.

    In the 2014 Operating budget the three biggest departments are? You Guessed it…

    Department of Education and Early Development

    Department of Health and Social Services

    University of Alaska

  2. Billiam

    Read Meg’s comment again. She didn’t make it partisan; Sullivan did. He said he was suspicious because Democrats wrote the report. He needs to reconsider his partisan remarks now that he’s electef.

  3. Lynn Willis

    The Kodiak Space Port is the poster child for pork in Alaska. Now, according to the program director Craig Campbell we face a possible “brain drain” if we don’t continue to fund this fiasco? I would submit that a “brain fart” brought us a “fiscal drain”.
    Amanda, if you are going to recognize the silliest comment of the year by an Alaskan public official may I nominate the comment of Alaska Aerospace Director Craig Campbell regarding his characterization of a “normal lift off” when describing the August 25th rocket launch from Kodiak during which the rocket was destroyed seconds into flight and the resulting explosion caused significant damage to his facility. According to the ADN, Campbell said. “It lifted off normally and didn’t go very far.” Really????

  4. Lynn Willis

    So Governor Walker, in the few days he has been Governor, is expected to have already solved all the fiscal problems brought to us by Sean Parnell and like thinkers over the last few years? This immediate resolution is , of course, to be expected even in the face of the crash of oil prices that nobody could have predicted during the campaign.
    Never in our state history did we spend so much; then, we were lead to believe that spending was being reduced. Well, when you manage to record the highest budget in history in the first year, followed by the second highest budget in history in the following year, are you being truly honest in claiming a budget reduction in the second year? Also, how disingenuous to take 3 billion from our cash reserves to pay down the pension obligation, then not make any contribution to that expense obligation from the operating budget and claim a reduction in the operating budget.
    Maybe some of you might reflect on the fact that a capital budget project becomes an operating budget obligation to maintain, so you might temper your glee at the problem Walker is facing if you remember who blew the lid off the capital budget to create the bloated operating budgets we now have to face.

  5. Anonymous

    Because the Unity ticket was so vocal about Governor Parnell spending $7 million per day more than the state is taking in I fully expect the Governor to at a minimum bring spending to that level right now. The FY2016 budget Governor Walker proposes in February should be a balanced budget based upon the fall revenue forecast for FY2016. Either the budget reductions can be made now while the state still has liquidity or they can be made later when the state is broke. I would dread making these cuts but I did not run for office.

  6. AH HA

    Reductions in he Capitol Budget are all well and good. Any real cuts are going to have to come from the Operating budget and of course there is no talk about that…

    Well, except for the Alaska Democrats newspaper of record, where Alex DeMarban writes an interesting article that argues that “Walk-Back” Walker will not be able to keep his campaign promises because of a ‘Paradigm shift’ in the States Financial Status….

  7. AH HA

    Never Mind that she had somehow managed to trounce the sitting Governor and long time United States Senator of her own party in order to win the Governorship. Never mind that in order to accomplish this she had no need to resort to “unified” tickets or other clap trap…..

    And of course never mind that to this day, even her shadow seems to be capable of striking abject fear in the heard of any Alaskan Liberal……

    Never mind that our current sitting Co-Governors gladly accepted her endorsement….

  8. Anonymous Alaskan

    I have great respect for Sen. John McCain’s service to our country; however, I would not cite him as a pillar of good judgement or wisdom – – remember, he picked Sarah Palin, Alaska’s greatest embarassment, as his running mate. Enough said.

  9. CPG49

    Meg, your comment suggests that torture is somehow a partisan issue. This is ridiculous. I would respectfully suggest that you try to be less partisan.

    I am disappointed that Walker-Mallott isn’t showing leadership and stoPping the craziness in Kodiak with the state’ space program. This was a program that has never worked. Continuing it is a fiscal flaunt against fiscal reality. Please Governor, show some leadership and now. Shut it down. Lay off workers. The fiscal reality suggests that you act this quarter and not wait for the new calendar year or fiscal year. Hey Meg, is fiscal restraint a partisan issue too?

  10. Amanda Post author

    You’re right. My bad. I had asked his office what he knew about the torture program earlier and will try to get an answer today and will try to update.

  11. meg

    Amanda I am surprised you didn’t post and comment on the Dispatch interview with Dan Sullivan with his nonsensical and partisan response to questions about the torture report. I was impressed with your coverage of the torture report, and Sullivan’s response that he was suspicious of the accuracy of the report because Democrats wrote it was disappointing and pathetic. Especially since there was no mainstream attack on the accuracy of the report, and the report was lauded by Senator John McCain, one of the most senior an respected Republicans in the Senate.

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