Addressing Governor Dunleavy’s Proposed Budget
Dear Fellow Alaskan,
One of the reasons I supported Governor Dunleavy is because he is principled, honest, and bold. He has the courage to lead and the courage to make tough decisions. I found him to be different from many public officials, in that he always said the same thing to different crowds. He didn’t alter his message day to day. I saw this time and again throughout the campaign. Now that he is in office, that has not changed.
Governor Dunleavy is the only Governor in my adult lifetime who has been willing to introduce a budget that matches spending with revenues. It is not Governor Dunleavy’s fault that revenues are at the level they are. It is simply a fact. The reality is that there is a $1.6 billion difference between our expected revenue this year and our spending last year. So the Governor’s team put forth an honest plan to match spending with expected revenue. I find it interesting that so many Alaskans are angry at the Governor for simply proposing a balanced budget. I don’t expect it to be easy or fun to swallow the reality of our fiscal state, but I also don’t blame the Governor for it. I appreciate that the Governor’s team did the hard work to come up with a proposal that his honest, balanced, and doesn’t just kick the can down the road. The Governor is helping Alaskans discuss the reality of our fiscal situation, and I appreciate the strength he is showing even amidst criticism and the outcry of many who just don’t want the money (that isn’t there) to keep flowing. Fortunately, Alaska can’t print money or we might be billions in debt like the federal government is ($22 trillion!). Did you know that the state has spent $14 billion in reserves over the last four years? And there is just $2 billion in reserves left. That is reality. Did you know the State of Alaska spends almost twice the national average per person than other states? Did you know that the State of Alaska’s subsidy to our public university is more than double the average subsidy of other states? The University of Alaska is a wonderful resource in our state, but to subsidize at more than twice the rate?
Even if we had a much smaller dividend, if we don’t deal with our spending levels, the dividend will be gone in a few years. The result of continuing on the path we have been on is that the dividend would be gone and there will also need to be taxes to pay for the government. The problem with Alaska’s budget is not that we have a dividend. The problem with Alaska’s past budgets is that they are too large to be sustained. That we have spent $14 billion in reserves in the last four years is testament to this. Alaska is a small state population-wise. We would need one of the highest income taxes and sales taxes in the country to support spending at current levels. We already spend more on state government programs per capita than any other state, do we really want to become a state that taxes more per capita too? This is the road we are on if we don’t right-size our government.
If you would like to speak out and support right-sizing our government, writing a letter to the paper, calling in to a radio show, visiting with your friends and family, or commenting on social media are all great ways to share your opinion.
These House Finance Committee hearings are also venues to express your views:
Saturday, March 23 Mat-Our LIO 600 E. Railroad Ave, Wasilla 2pm-5pm
Saturday, March 23 Soldotna Sports Center 2pm-5pm
Sunday, March 24 Anchorage LIO 1500 W Benson 2pm-5pm
Calling in from Anchorage (907) 563-9085<tel:+19075639085>
Calling in from Juneau (907) 586-9085<tel:+19075869085>
All other locations (844) 586-9085<tel:+18445869085>
These presentations by Governor Dunleavy and his team are also coming up:
Monday, March 25 The Cannery Lodge, Kenai 6pm-8pm
Tuesday, March 26 49th State Brewery, Anchorage 6pm-8pm
Wednesday, March 27 Old St. Joseph’s Hall, Nome 4pm-6pm
Thursday, March 28 Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce 8am
Thursday, March 28 Westmark Hotel, Fairbanks 6pm-8pm
Friday, March 29 Everett’s, Wasilla 6pm-8pm
It is fun to speak up and cheer during a campaign, but it is courageous to speak up when things are tough. Will you have the courage to speak?
Alaskans for Dunleavy