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Senate needs to eat its veggies

Posted: April 13, 2012 - 8:20am

Just like a child sitting cross-armed at the dinner table, nose up turned and refusing to eat his broccoli, the Senate has waited until the midnight hour to face the music and the inevitable.

Any parent has seen such behavior. But shame on us grown taxpayers for thinking those lawmakers we sent to Juneau -- specifically the colicky ones in the Senate -- would do the people's business on time.

Instead, we got a lot of kicking, screaming and pouting. Now we're grinning and bearing the news we'll likely be footing the bill for another special session after a time out, nap and snack.

So many issues remain on the table it's hard to keep track of them: both budgets are still in the air, an important in-state gas pipeline bill needs to be addressed and consideration of $8 million for Gov. Sean Parnell's performance scholarship program met the same fate as work on oil taxes -- delayed at the speed of steamed broccoli cooling on a plate.

The Senate ignored Parnell's oil tax plan passed in the House last year in favor of creating its own and promised to hand it off to the House with at least 30 days left in the session. That deadline seems so long ago.

All three bodies -- the House, Senate and the administration -- share some blame, each threatening to hold their breath until they get their way.

The public's business is too important to be left to the last minute. These special sessions the Legislature seems so fond of aren't what we want. When will come the day the Legislature adjourns on time -- with the issues important to Alaskans adequately addressed?

When can we applaud the work the Legislature does and not feel our blood pressure rise when we see the morning's headlines?

Lately we've been accustomed to reading the words "stalled in the Senate." After all, that's where oil tax legislation and a number of other issues have been holed up for the last few months.

Just what's going on with that body? Where is the leadership from its leadership? Surely there must be a good explanation of why all this business is left to the last minute instead of being addressed in an efficient manner.

Look at the House. Leadership there seems to understand the importance of accuracy, diligence and speed. But the Senate seems to be the ones dragging the session out.

And just for what reason? We doubt it's due to a lack of hubris. The Senate says it's being thorough and deliberate -- which we aren't opposed to in most cases -- but it has turned obstinate, it seems.

The Clarion editorial board in this space praised the Legislature at the beginning of the session for looking at oil taxes early. We were hopeful that this session would be different and we'd have a meaningful bill to mull with ample time for consideration.

Silly us. We forgot the Senate would rather have all of us at the table watching while it slowly pushes the broccoli back and forth, clock ticking, ice cream melting.

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Allen 04/13/12 - 04:16 pm
Clarion Should Follow Its Own Guidelines

The Clarion's guidelines for the Opinion section: " aims to foster constructive, respectful civic conversation. To do this well, we need your help. You can help by modeling good behavior -- by posting comments that are thoughtful, constructive and interesting -- and avoiding temptation to engage in personal abuse, name-calling and juvenile behavior. You also can help by reporting abuses when you see them. If you're a registered user and you're logged in, you'll see a link to do so on every comment."

So I am reporting this anonymous editorial for abusing these guidelines. The snarky, condescending comments and tone of this editorial do not add anything constructive to the debate over oil taxation.

The editorial has not made a case for rushing action on oil taxes, or for taking any action on oil taxes at all, just because the oil industry doesn't like the current tax structure. The editorial makes the Clarion look like a shill for the oil and gas industry.

If the Clarion wants to earn the respect of Peninsula residents, it should try harder not to be so biased in its reporting and editorials. For example, where is the article on the April 4 Kenai City Council meeting, where many vendors testified that they were not being paid by Buccaneer?

spwright 04/14/12 - 06:59 am
You Voted for Them

Let's See, We have a Republican Majority in Our House of Representatives, A Republican Governor, & 1/2 of Our State Senate is Republican.

INSANITY is Doing the same thing over & over again & again but expecting different results.

Keep On Re-Electing that Republican Majority year after year & we will STILL be debating a Natural Gas Pipeline 20 years from now.

Talk, Talk then Talk somemore then when that's done lets Talk somemore. Appoint a committee to research the issue so we can Talk somemore about the Pipeline.

Shut Up Already & make some DECISIONS Build the damn Pipeline !

SPW "Airborne"

KenaiKardinal88 04/15/12 - 05:57 am
Senate Idiots

The Senate coalition is killing Alaska. Get rid of the liberal Dems and you'd see great things happen in Alaska.

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