Wasting the surplus

Posted: Sunday, February 05, 2006

The $1.2 billion windfall is just the beginning for the governor and Legislature.

Where is our benefit?

1. $400 million toward state ownership of the new gas pipeline. Absolutely not! Private ownership through a publicly traded corporation makes more sense. Can anybody name just one successful, state-sponsored business ... Delta Barley? Seward Dimensional Lumber Mill? Anchorage Fish Plant? Healy Coal-Electric Project? Others?

2. $565 million to forward-fund the K-12 schools. Public education has too much money and not enough education. $565 million for parent-controlled school vouchers.

3. $86-million plus $30 million for major highway and big city transportation. Well, maybe. But, no studies, no Knik Arm bridge and no Gravina Island bridge.

4. Repay the $5.6 billion borrowed from the Constitutional Budget Reserve Fund as mandated by the Alaska Constitution. The permanent fund and its dividends are very most important to regular Alaska citizens.

5. PERS/TRS and government worker health-care. The shortfall is over $6 billion. Health-cost reports are not yet complete. Ford and General Motors are merely indicators. State and municipal plans are twice as generous and twice as unsustainable.

6. $22 million for a national advertising campaign to improve Alaska's image so the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge passes. No! Alaska has the very highest per-capita tax revenue and expenditure rates (as reported at http://www.census.gov/govs/state/03rank.html).

7. The Alaska Municipal League (AML) shall not find more revenues. Municipalities must cut spending, reduce staff, privatize and renegotiate contracts to lower PERS/TRS and health-care costs.

Help me stop these guys.

Fred Sturman


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