Beware loss of state jobs

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002

If you are a state employee your job could be on the chopping block if the wrong person moves into the Governor's mansion in December.

Sen. Murkowski says at his Web site he will balance the state budget by appointing a panel "... to identify savings that can be achieved by eliminating poorly performing programs."

Common sense translation: "... identify savings that can be achieved by eliminating state employees." And which city has, as the highest percentage of its work force, a loyal cadre of state employees?

You guessed it. Your city and mine - Juneau.

The senator's idea is not even original. Gov. Wally Hickel tried the same review technique, spent lots of state dollars in the process, and ended up with essentially no significant savings.

Unfortunately, Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have in recent years been proposing - and, worse, enacting - Draconian cuts to programs they apparently consider "poorly performing."

Programs like highway maintenance and putting gravel on icy roads in winter. Programs like adequate funding for more Alaska State Troopers. Programs that protect public health. And programs that meet the needs of our kids in school. The result of all this "program review," of course, has been the loss of jobs by state and school employees and the loss of vital services by Alaskans.

Personally I'm pretty underwhelmed by the senator's proposal. I'm rooting and voting for Fran Ulmer for governor.

Her plans are based on reality and solid experience.

Marilyn Miller


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