Voices

I must have been dreaming

How sad that the money machine has slowed down, with the price of oil at basement levels. Legislators have wisely concluded that we’re spending way too much money coddling all those school kids and overpaying teachers, some of whom deliver “fluff” (who needs music and art?), and counselors who sit in their comfy offices offering useless advice which students ignore — let’s cut $47 million of fat from education funding, and ignore the base set in previous years. Times are tough. Getting to what is really important, let’s buy the lush new office space downtown for $30 million, rather than rent it....

Alaska Dispatch News

Have you ever noticed how politicians who campaign on "government is bad" rhetoric seem to do everything they can to prove it once elected?

When people ask me what the ham and cheese is going on down there, I shrug. There's no logic to the stonewalling and disregard of basic tasks at hand.

A few weeks ago I listened to a Red Sox game on the radio. It went 19 innings. The back and forth was giving me whiplash and it was a glorious thing. IT WAS A GAME. State politics shouldn't be -- but the idea of all of us winning makes the Republican majority feel like they are losing. The session is now in extra innings...

Shannyn Moore

At current prices and costs the economics of North Slope oil production are marginal, and some production is losing money. The following is a snapshot of those economics. Alaska oil prices have averaged $55 per barrel this year. Pipeline and marine transportation costs are $9 per barrel. That leaves a gross value of $46 per barrel. The average upstream capital and operating cost (including $2 per barrel in property tax) is $35 per barrel. This leaves the net value at $11 per barrel...

Roger Marks

Although older Alaskans may deserve the government we voted for, it looks like the younger ones won’t get the education they deserve. Gov. Bill Walker and Education Commissioner Mike Hanley first sounded the education retreat when they asked the Legislature in January to remove $50 million from public schools without a plan. In the Capitol this month, House legislators told the NAACP that they had cut budgets for schools and pre-schools further because the governor started it. And while we were asking individual senators about last year’s promise to maintain funding, Sens....

Mike Bronson

If the notion of wielding the IRS as a weapon against political enemies or wiretapping the Associated Press does not bother you; if the NSA's pervasive eavesdropping or Barack Obama’s lawless presidency does not make you nuts, what happened in Wisconsin will seem like, well, just a walk in the park.

If all that winds your crank, though, and you wonder what America would look like if some liberal Democrats had their way, take a moment and read David French’s “ Wisconsin’s Shame: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion ,” in the National Review...

Paul Jenkins

“Moose: The Movie” is well worth the drive to Wasilla. The feature-length, locally made film created by Tundra cartoonist Chad Carpenter and about half the Mat-Su population is bright, fast-paced, well produced, utterly entertaining and very amusing. Think “Whale Fat Follies” meets “Scrubs.”

The show opens with the wise, soft voice of a Native elder (Pius Savage) recalling a legend about an unkillable beast with the head of a moose and the body of a man that was trapped in the underworld in ancient times and held there by a totem...

Mike Dunham
Eliminating estate tax does little to fix real budget woes

Taxation of any kind seems impossible to defend these days, but the House’s vote to repeal the estate tax shows how beholden it is to the few at the expense of the many and the nation, as the elimination of this tax creates a $20 billion hole in the budget. Lawmakers are pouring gas on our budgetary fire by eliminating this tax...

Alaska Dispatch News

As the Legislature dodges the bullet and heads home, I can only think how much harder it will be next year. Using up our budget reserve and other slush funds, while praying for another boom, will not get us out of this hole.

This Legislature did not cause the problem. That decision was made when we started spending our fortune and removed our state income tax from the books.

As this Legislature will soon discover, we can cripple our entire state government and not balance the budget. Yes, if we were to fire all state employees, we would still lack $1 billion a year because of the unwise generosity of allowing Alaskans to be virtually tax-free...

Clem Tillion

Long ago -- in the mid-'60s -- my political science professor assigned his students "Who Governs?" by Robert Dahl.

"Who Governs?" was read all over the United States, not just the eastern liberal enclave where I attended school. Dahl, a Yale government professor, was one of the best known academic political analysts of his time -- and his time lasted decades. He died in 2014 at age 98.

The premise of his book was brilliant -- the eternal question of who governs could be answered, at least in the United States, through an examination of one community, New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is located...

Michael Carey

Observing legislative sessions regularly as I do, one quickly learns the body’s strict adherence to order. Its deep commitment to the rules , and its fastidious attention to the record was the format I so admire. Admired until midnight Sunday, when the Legislature tossed out due process, the rules, and its attention to the record.

It is unfortunate, despite all the guidance for due process provided by our Constitution, statute, and regulations on this subject, and despite public opinion echoed in newspapers, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that Alaska lawmakers can break laws with impunity that apply specifically to their own process. (see Abood v. League of Women Voters)...

Tara Jollie