Downsize government

Posted: Sunday, April 28, 2002

Why is it that no one in the Legislature can get these words out of their mouths? "We need to downsize government."

When the oil was flowing freely, the timber industry was still in operation, and the seafood industry was paying more in raw fish tax than today, there was no reason not to build a huge government machine. Isn't that part of government's job, to create more jobs? But times have changed, now we will soon face a budget deficit, and all I hear is how can we take money from the people to feed this ravenous monster that has been created.

Is there really any good reason why a state with less population than any other needs to have more government workers per capita than any other state in the union? How many bodies does someone working in the private sector have to carry on their backs, besides their own families? I won't start naming groups so as not to offend someone, but it is happening and will only get worse. Until the Legislature can muster the courage to face the fact that they are like a corporation, and in corporate business, when times get tough, the first thing the board of directors does is usually downsize their workforce by a number of different ways.

Eliminate any departments no longer needed. Offer early retirement incentives. Just flat lay off excess workers in any or all departments. It's a cruel world of economics we live in today, but it high time someone says the magic words, and until we hear them, we're not going to be very receptive to the current ideas, i.e. tap the dividend fund, implement a state income tax, any way to pay for more government than we really need. So, please legislators, be strong and start at the right place, downsize first, then look at other ways to make up the shortfall. It may not be as big once you take that first step, which is always the hardest. I'm sure Alaska's new "savior," tourism, can absorb any excess created in the workforce, just ask any pro-tourism advocate.

Allen Morin

Juneau



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