June 23, 2016
Anyone who has ever been married knows this to be true.
Apparently, one cannot expect more statesmanship from their elected leaders. It is, afterall, a citizen legislature – but that is no excuse. The Legislature has taken neglect of duty and bad behavior to new levels. The stakes, Alaska’s economy and the welfare of its people, are too high. It must stop.
Governor Walker introduced a fiscal plan, marched it around the state, gathered feedback from public forums and generally got positive feedback. The Governor introduced his fiscal plan to the Body and stated quite clearly that it was written in pencil – he was open to ideas from the Body. Then, throughout the ninety day session, the Body basically ignored it, dealing instead with “guns on campus” and anything else they could come up with to avoid their work mandate (which is to pass a balanced budget).
The finished budget – to remain fair and comprehensive – must include additional revenues (taxes), and very limited access to the PFD. Furthermore, to be responsive to the public voice, the plan must include substantial budget cuts and a visible reduction in the size of state government. All traces of expenditures for boondoggles or industry tax credits must be erased from the budget! And, all these parts must happen at the same time to be perceived as fair; this point is critical. BONUS TIP: Keep lobbyists out of state affairs!
In yet another special session come July, the Legislature has the opportunity to clean up the mess their past budgets created – as well as do the job they were sent to Juneau to do last January. I hope it is held in Juneau; available on Gavel Alaska for all to watch.
cc The Fight Over Money
Alaska Dispatch News June 25, 2016
From the recent ADN article:
“Walker’s Permanent Fund legislation is the biggest piece of his deficit-reduction package; it would close more than half of next year’s $3.2 billion deficit by converting the fund into an endowment. It would also produce smaller dividends than last year’s.”