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Going back to the future… the new Alaskan economy?

April 13, 2015

P.1Long, long ago in another universe a young man and his friends were scouring vacant lots and dumpsters behind different businesses looking for soda bottles. What could possess these young men in their late teens to ‘dumpster dive’ for soda bottles… well of course it was Friday night and every Friday they got together to ‘cruse’ the local burger joint and impress, (hopefully) the girls that hung out there. Soda bottles were redeemable at 5 cents each and gasoline for their cars was 25 cents a gallon so for about 15 soda bottles they could ‘curse’ all evening. Of course long gone are the days of 25 cents a gallon gas, lately here in Alaska it runs about $3.90 a gallon even though the ‘market’ price per barrel has dropped to one half that of what its value was only months ago.

Alaska’s government has currently produced a working budget that is now cut by billions of dollars based on this loss of income, but as usual expenditures do not match what it will receive in income from the oil companies. And as if the government in Juneau is taking lessons from our representatives in Washington they just can not accept the reality of not spending more than they take in.

I must admit that I was impressed by some of the effort displayed in cutting the state budget. Many departments budgets were cut by an across the board percentage, the exact cuts left to the discretion of the individual department. Also the Governor unilaterally stopped work on some of Alaska’s major construction projects that were not deemed essential. Another area of cuts that surprised and impressed me was in state wide school support including the University of Alaska.

But even with all of this it is still not enough to match the shortfall. Of course one thing that keeps the legislature in Juneau from making the really painful cuts is the reserve fund. There is much discussion of “borrowing” from this multi-billion dollar fund to offset the difference in income. Now we all know how well “borrowing” worked for Washington when for years they “borrowed” from the social security trust fund. I am quite sure we will never again see any money taken from this ‘peoples’ fund again.

I am wondering why
our educated, knowledgeable representatives in Juneau
can not act like those teens from the long ago past
and only spend what money they take in on Alaska’s future.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jon permalink
    April 14, 2015 6:33 pm

    Answer: they’ve been too long in D.C. & have learned the longer they stay, the better & more of the perks they get. Silly me, they stay in because they’re “experienced” now & they use that “experience” to “help” us.


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