With time ticking little public progress on state budget

first_imgDespite a looming deadline, lawmakers made no public progress this week on reaching agreement on a state budget and a plan to balance the budget in future years.State Capitol building (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)Listen nowAlaska Public Media’s Lori Townsend talked to AKPM and KTOO reporter Andrew Kitchenman about the stalemate.Lori Townsend: “What will it take to reach a compromise in Juneau?”Andrew Kitchenman: “If there was a clear answer to that question, then we could have seen a compromise months ago. Governor Bill Walker tried to make progress on Monday by putting out his own compromise proposal. He didn’t get very far. He took the Senate’s side on how to handle oil and gas taxes and the Permanent Fund, and the House’s side on this year’s state budget and the need for a broad-based tax. But no one embraced all of his package of proposals. Senate President Pete Kelly welcomed it, but he continued to express opposition to the elements that differ from the Senate majority’s positions. The mostly Democratic House majority was much stronger in rejecting it, although some members signaled a willingness to work with what Walker proposed.Kelly says he wants lawmakers to focus on the budget first. The Republican-led Senate majority may be willing to live with just passing the budget – putting off a decision on the Permanent Fund until later. House members don’t want to do that – but they only want to reduce PFDS if  the state also has higher oil taxes and/or a broad-based tax like an income tax. They say that’s fairer. Senators say everyone agrees on the need for Permanent Fund changes, but they differ on taxes and spending.House members have been hoping that the Senate would be swayed by public pressure over budget cuts. That hasn’t happened yet. There’s one thing that’s certain to put pressure on both chambers – the state government shutting down if they don’t pass a budget.Lori Townsend: “Has there been any progress this special session?”Andrew Kitchenman: “Well, the Legislature passed a bill aimed at reducing overdoses from opioids. That was only bill that didn’t have to do with the budget.There’s a conference that’s making slow progress on the budget. But it hasn’t taken on the biggest differences between the chambers – such as cuts to education and university funding, and how much to draw from Permanent Fund earnings.Lori Townsend: “Is there anything else happening?”Andrew Kitchenman: “Today (Friday, June 9) was the first meeting of the conference committee on a bill making changes to oil and gas taxes. The two chambers are still far apart. I talked with the committee leaders about where they stand. Anchorage Democratic Representative Geran Tarr says the House majority wants  to change the system so that oil and gas companies effectively pay more in taxes.”“We’ve said it’s unsustainable,” Tarr said. “We need to reduce the burden to the state treasury because it’s not affordable going forward and we hope to find a compromise on that.”While the Senate version of the bill eliminates the tax credits that are paid out to oil companies, Tarr says it allows them under a different name.Lori Townsend: “What do senators say about this?”Andrew Kitchenman: “Anchorage Republican Senator Cathy Giessel says what the Senate has proposed is significant. Companies would no longer be able to receive tax credits before they enter production.”“It will be applicable when you’ve reached production, versus simply handing out cash for performing certain activities,” Giessel said. “That’s a big change. The other big change, of course, is we’re no longer jeopardizing our treasury by handing out this cash.”Andrew Kitchenman: “Giessel says the Senate didn’t have time to assess the overall effect of the House’s overhaul to oil and gas taxes.”Anchorage Democratic Representative Les Gara notes the projected reduction in oil and gas taxes in the Senate bill as compared with the House bill is equal to the Senate’s proposed cuts to school and university spending over 10 years. Republicans reject the comparison, saying that encouraging oil production is necessary for the economy.Lori Townsend: “So what happens next?”Andrew Kitchenman: “Legislators have a week to work out their differences. If they don’t, then Walker will likely call another special session. Then there will be two more weeks to prevent a shutdown.”last_img read more

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Is Asus Customer Service Good 2019 Rating

first_imgPhone Hours (PST): 6 am – 9 pm Using a mix of questions focusing on Windows 10 and Asus-branded software, I left no stone unturned, testing the company’s social media response, calling reps at different times of day and even poring through their FAQ pages. I’m pleased to report that Asus rose to the challenge, offering a more user-friendly website and more savvy tech-support reps.The company’s performance wasn’t perfect, but it is definitely one of the most improved when it comes to tech support. Laptop Tech Support Showdown! Our 2019 RatingsWhich laptop companies offer the best tech support? We tested top brands such as Apple, Dell and Lenovo to find out.Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Which 13-inch MacBook Is Right For You?03:46关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/asus-tech-support?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0002:2402:24Your Recommended Playlist03:46MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro: Which 13-inch MacBook Is Right For You?02:01Apple’s Mac & iPad Pro Event: 5 Things You Need To Know01:30Best & Worst Laptop Brands 201901:30How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel01:32How to Turn Your Windows 10 PC into a Wireless Display01:34How to Reset a Windows 10 PC02:14Chromebook Buying Guide关闭  by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GameIf you’re over 40 – this game is a must!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoKelley Blue Book5 Mid-engine Corvettes That Weren’tKelley Blue BookUndoGrepolis – Free Online GameGamers Around the World Have Been Waiting for this GameGrepolis – Free Online GameUndoTODAYPolice Identify Girl Licking Ice Cream Tub In Viral VideoTODAYUndoMy Food and FamilyHealthy, Homemade Drunken Thai Noodles In Just 20 MinutesMy Food and FamilyUndoCNN International for ANAThe Secret Of What It Takes To Be Naomi OsakaCNN International for ANAUndoAdvertisement 69/10054/6015/405:11888-678-3688Link Asus Tech Support Web and Social Media (54/60)If you need help online, you can reach out to Asus via Facebook, Twitter or the company’s support site. I started with the company’s Facebook account at 1:36 p.m., asking how I could share files between the VivoBook and my phone. At 2:07 p.m., I got a response that said, “Thank you for reaching out to us. While we do not assist data transfer, you could try sharing the files via Bluetooth.”AdvertisementWhen I asked if there were an Asus app I could use, the rep referred me to Asus File Transfer, which is technically correct, but not the answer (Asus Sync) that I was looking for. But the company came through a day later, redeeming itself when the rep gave me a long explanation of the Sync app, with no prodding from me.One place where Asus has made strides is in its support website. Last year, we noted that the search function was less than perfect, bringing the most tangential issues to the top. But when I went searching for how to adjust the audio settings under Asus Software, it instantly brought up an entry for Ice Audio Wizard along with a video and a FAQ with step-by-step instructions on how to use it.But there are no entries for Windows questions like disabling webcams or stopping forced updates (although Asus does offer info on installing and registering Windows 10 Creators Update). In those cases, you’ll need to speak to a Live Agent. I spoke to Jonelle P. at 11:25 a.m., but only after waiting 5 minutes. I asked how I could adjust the audio settings on my notebook. During her first attempt, she pointed me to the volume button, but once I informed her I needed to tweak actual presets, she had to do a little digging.After 3 minutes had passed, Jonelle had me launch Asus SmartAudio, which offered a variety of presets. However, since Asus preinstalled two audio programs on the VivoBook, I pressed her to see if she could find the other one. She suggested that I load up Realtek HD Audio Wizard, a program not installed on my notebook. When I told her it wasn’t there, she recommended searching for the word audio in the Windows search bar, which brought up Asus Audio Wizard, netting the rep some hard-earned extra credit.Phone Support (15/40)With call centers located in the United States, Jamaica and the Philippines, Asus offers you phone assistance seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT (9 a.m. to 12 a.m. EDT). That’s a large swath of time, but I’d still prefer a 24/7 line. I don’t know about you, but tech fails typically happen for me in the wee hours of the morning.I spoke to Richard at 3:53 p.m. on a weekend on my first and shortest call. Once we were connected, I asked how I could transfer files between my VivoBook and smartphone. He confidently and incorrectly stated that he would not be able to assist me because Asus doesn’t offer that capability. He stuck to his story even after I hinted that there might be an app. He politely responded that there might be a third-party app that could help me, but seemed to have no knowledge of the Asus Sync app. So the call ended at 2:55 p.m. after 2 minutes and 43 seconds.For my second call, I talked with Richard at 10:59 a.m. about how to adjust my notebook’s audio. At first, he directed me to look through the icons in the bottom-right corner of the screen. But after a little more digging, he understood that I was looking to improve the tinny sound and directed me to search for an app called IceAudio.However, the model of my laptop only had IceWizard. When I informed him of the fact, he instructed me to click on the app, which launched the Ice Audio Wizard app, netting him a correct response. From there, he explained the various presets and also pointed out that I could further tweak the sound via the Advanced Settings button. The whole process took 8 minutes and 43 seconds.I conducted my last call at 12:44 p.m. with Hugh. After getting all my pertinent information, Hugh quickly told me that there was no way to disable nor reschedule automatic Windows 10 updates. Both of these statements were incorrect. This was my second-shortest call, at 3 minutes and 7 seconds.MORE: Best Asus LaptopsHowever, later in the day I received an email from Hugh, stating he’d “miscategorized” my query. He stated that while you can stop the updates completely, you can delay them for up to 35 days. It’s admirable that he attempted to fix his error, but he’s still wrong, since you can disable updates by simply going to the Windows Updates settings and flipping a switch.WarrantyIf you purchase an Asus laptop, chances are that it’ll come with the company’s standard one-year warranty. The coverage includes free accidental damage protection for select laptop models. You can also swap out the RAM or storage without fear of voiding the warranty. However, you’re definitely on the hook if the notebook is damaged during installation. Asus also covers two-way shipping in the event you have to send in your system for repair.Asus currently doesn’t offer extended warranty programs, but it’s looking to launch something toward the tail end of 2019. In the meantime, the company will continue to support systems out of coverage at no additional charge.Bottom LineAsus really stepped up its game this year, either improving upon or outright eliminating most of the complaints we had about its tech support. Lengthy wait times are now a thing of the past, as are dropped calls and outright wrong answers (at least online; the phone is another story). I was also impressed by how easy it was to navigate Asus’ tech support site and get relevant answers.However, Asus does need to better train its representatives when it comes to company-branded software. Many of the agents’ mistakes stemmed from an Asus app. You’ll have the best chance of getting correct answers from the company’s social media reps and live chat agents, while the phone reps have a bit of work to do to match their online counterparts. Last year, we dinged Asus for poor website design, lengthy hold times and other tech support infringements. That meant that the company had a lot to prove this year, and it was my job to put the company to the test. As such, I went undercover as a mild-mannered consumer needing answers about my new VivoBook X540BA. OverallWeb ScorePhone ScoreAvg Call TimePhone NumberWeb Support Tech Support ShowdownScorecard and WinnersAcerAppleAsusHP HuaweiDellLenovoMicrosoftMSIRazerSamsunglast_img read more

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