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Keep the money and jobs in Alaska

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

I read in the paper that the state is thinking of putting the telecommunications jobs up for bid by private companies. Does this really benefit the state of Alaska to award these jobs to companies that are located outside the state? Doesn't the majority of the money go outside the state when this happens? It seems like we're exporting our tax dollars outside of the local economy. That's like taking the oil money and other state taxes that we receive and shipping it out to be spent outside. Wouldn't it be better to employ people that live and work here? By employing people that live here, the money stays and circulates within our own economy. People use it to pay for food, housing, transportation and other living expenses.

When I get my bill from the Alaska student loan office, I notice that it is processed in the state of Washington. It always gives me pause to wonder how much money we are really saving by hiring someone outside to do a job that could be done within the state. Suppose we are saving $500,000 per year by awarding the contract to an out-of-state bidder. At the same time, we are shipping $2 million out of the state (by awarding the contract to an outside bidder,) so that we can save $500,000. Does this really make economic sense?

The article says that the state spends $20.5 million for telecommunications systems services with 40 different private companies. I would like to know how much of that money is being spent in the state. Do these companies have employees that live and work here? And what is the actual savings by awarding these contracts for private bid? Imagine if we could keep that $20.5 million here by awarding those contracts to local companies or hiring state employees. Even if it ended up costing us $30 million to do the same job, it seems like Alaskans would benefit more if the money stayed here within the local economy.

Erik StimpfleJuneau



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