We're coming to the close of 2013, and top 10 lists are coming out of our ears. Top movies, albums, people (The pope! Time's Person of the Year!). We seem to feel compelled to wrap up our year in nice little boxes.
I have my own list I'd like to trot out. Hang on just a minute.
Last week the governor released state revenue projections and his budget. His projections are based on the information oil companies give the state about how much of that sweet oil they plan to send down the pipeline. The administration takes those numbers and figures out how much we can spend and on what.
The governor and his minions may actually have believed that if they promised there would be "a million barrels" of oil in the pipeline that it would magically appear. Is there some oil fairy I don't know about? Perhaps a great petro saint to make it happen? Certainly Senate Bill 21, the oil tax giveaway, was neither fairy nor saint -- more like the grinch that stole all our future Christmases.
As Sen. Bill Wielechowski digested the reports on his Facebook page this week:
"In 2013 under ACES, we took in $6.3 billion in oil revenue. In 2014, the first year the oil tax bill SB 21 fully kicks in, Gov. Parnell is projecting we take in $2 billion less, $4.3 billion. In 2015, $3.9 billion. Remember how this bill was supposed to bring in billions more in the long term? In 2023, the Governor projects we take in $3.3 billion."
First of all, it freaks me out that 2023 is less than 10 years away.
Secondly, with the governor's deceitful pitch powering SB21, you'd think he'd have cover for more than a few months. But he doesn't. That didn't stop the usual spin machine, however.
On Dec. 4, the Alaska Oil & Gas Association tweeted, "Today's state revenue forecast is proof that oil tax reform is already working."
From its point of view, it's definitely working. For regular Alaskans, not so much.
Did they even read the forecast? It says less money for Alaska and less oil in the pipeline. Well, it sure is working -- for Big Oil.
Here's an example of what it means for Alaskans. The governor's budget shows the real priorities of this administration.
Education will stand still again, as it has for four years. More teachers will get pink-slipped. More than 600 teaching positions have disappeared over the last three budgets. If our "children are the future," we might want to break a sweat educating them. But maybe we don't want them to be able to read (budgets) or be able to do math (which is no longer a prerequisite for working in state government, apparently). The consistent policy has been to starve the public school budget in an effort to promote the privatization of schools and vouchers. Expect to see a lot of discussion of that in the next legislative session.
Now, here's my list: the qualifications of my Progressive Alaskan of the Year for 2013:
- Selling Alaska's birthright by signing SB21.
- Denying health care to more than 41,000 Alaskans by turning down a fed-paid expansion of Medicaid as well as rejecting the 4,000 Alaska jobs that would have come with it (even stiff-arming the Chamber of Commerce in the process).
- Siding with Shelby, Ala., in a U.S. Supreme Court case that would undermine the voting rights of Alaska Natives.
- Suing former first lady Bella Hammond and constitutional father Vic Fischer after they dared challenge state rules affecting the permitting of a proposed Pebble mine.
- Pushing HB77, just one more in a series of efforts to protect foreign-owned corporations from Alaskans.
- Appointing a racist to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
- Withholding vital public information and studies from legislators and citizens.
- Allowing cruise ships to dump more waste in Alaska waters (which, besides being gross, overturns the will of Alaska voters). See No. 5.
- Continuing his hollow, action-free "Choose Respect" campaign. (If only bumper stickers could stop rape and domestic violence.)
- Making me miss Sarah Palin.
That's right! The best person to turn Alaska toward more progressive policies in 2014 is Gov. Sean Parnell. Thank you, sir, for all your hard work. The fact that your policies are steadily turning Alaska into a train wreck is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving -- to columnists like me.
Take a bow! You've earned it.
Shannyn Moore is a radio host on 1480 AM in Washington, D.C., and Netroots Radio.