I'm running for the office of state representative representing District 35, comprised of the southern Kenai Peninsula, from Seward to Cooper Landing and Anchor Point south to Kachemak Bay, including Homer and its environs.
I've served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board for nine years. My concern for public education is one of the reasons I filed for this seat. Most people run on a platform of doing something to support education. While last year the Legislature did increase education spending, it still does not adequately meet the needs of the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is a unique microcosm of the state. Our district is a model for the state. We have embraced accountability handed to us by the state and federal government and now we need support to make sure all students' needs are met. The funding formula needs to be fixed to address adequacy, and it needs to be inflation proofed. Education is certainly not the only issue in the state, but it continues to be a political hot potato.
Other urgent topics on the agenda include a need for a long-range fiscal plan for the state. A fiscal plan must include spending. We hear of the need to cut; I would not disagree. The question is where we cut. We must stop cutting the areas where the people need services. It is a matter of priorities and my observation is that this administration takes care of the machine first and the people last. We need to address the priorities.
I do support the percent of market value management tool, but I have concerns on how it has been billed. I like the conversation of a percentage for municipal sharing or a community dividend. I do not like the proposal that has been offered to attach a percentage to education. My concern is that more money is currently being spent than is proposed in the POMV plan. What guarantee is there that using the POMV will provide education with more money, not less?
Sales tax is another method being discussed to fund government. I share the concern we have on the peninsula of the impact to the borough and local governments' revenue. I will work with our municipalities to address our issues.
While I don't have a problem with an income tax, I certainly understand the impact to our wage earning-families.
We need to build the all-Alaska gas pipeline. The health of the Kenai Peninsula economy depends on getting the gas to markets here in this state first.
I am committed to a process that includes debating issues in public. The closed caucus system currently being applied makes it impossible for us to hear issues debated. We all have the right to know what factors are influencing decisions as they're being made. I firmly believe that the more open the conversation, better decisions will be made affecting our communities and our state.
I welcome questions and input. Please call me at (907) 235-2538 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my Web page at debgermano.com and please get out and vote.
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