Cutting Senate would save money

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Legislature complains that the cost of state government is too high, and has passed SB141, a plan to reduce pension payments to future retirees. While this will make it even more difficult to recruit qualified, capable employees to underpaid titles, it is better than the Senate's original proposal to treat current employees the same way. That would have represented a breach of promise to the many workers who invested their careers in public service with the expectation that they would be secure in their retirement years.

It seems obvious that the easiest way to reduce the cost of government is to eliminate the state Senate. Think about it: We'd save one-third the cost of the regular session, $10,000 per day for the special session, the entire cost of future special sessions that wouldn't have to happen, and $200 million off next year's capital budget. And instead of disrupting thousands of lives, this plan would only inconvenience 20 people who mostly have day jobs anyway.

If it's true that the cost of government is too high, then instead of shafting future employees the Legislature need look no further that its own bicameral redundancy. The state Senate is an absurd holdover from the days when English kings appointed nobles to sit in the House of Lords. The state of Nebraska abolished their state Senate in 1934, and seems to be getting along just fine without it. Perhaps it is time for Alaska to think about doing the same.

John P. Roxburgh


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