Saturday, March 26, 2011

Joelle Hall Responds to Earlier Randy Ruedrich Comments

Despite the fact that relatively few people came to the public hearing last Tuesday in Anchorage, I was still pretty busy covering those who did and Board Members and the staff.  So there are still a couple of bits I have left over.

Randy Ruedrich, head of the Alaska Republican Party,  testified that the 2001 redistricting plan made with a Democratic majority had lots of flaws.  He said, for instance, that 20 incumbents had been paired in the redrawn districts and all were Republicans, no Democrats.  He also said that since Statehood when there was a Democratic majority, things had gradually changed and now there were 56,000 more Republicans than Democrats so the legislature should be tipped in favor of Republicans.

After AFL-CIO political director Joelle Hall  testified, I asked her if she had a response to Ruedrich's comments.  She did and it's on the video below. 

I also ran into former Speaker of the House John Harris. He told me he's now a Municipal lobbyist and looking to be a state lobbyist in the future. He also talked about the need to give relief to municipalities who are required by state law to give seniors a waiver on their property taxes.

  When this was first passed, the State reimbursed municipalities for the lost income, but later stopped that. Either the State has to start reimbursing municipalities or they have to make it optional he said. I suggested another alternative. Since the point of the waiver is to prevent seniors on a fixed income from losing their homes because of rising property values and thus property taxes, seniors who have problems paying the tax should be able to defer the tax so they can keep the house. When they die, what they owed would be taken from their estate.

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