A recent commentary in the ADN stated, “Alaska must face its fiscal reality.” Any Alaskan disagree? Any disagreement with “we must live within our means?”
Our disagreement is over how we define our fiscal reality or means. The governor’s budget defines our means as oil revenue minus a super-sized PFD, with no consideration of increasing or diversifying revenue, leaving only unrealistic cuts to the budget. The recent commentary and another article attributed this response to fluctuating oil prices.
Isn’t sole reliance on a revenue stream based on geopolitical issues a problem? Every economic analysis from the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute for Social and Economic Research has concluded that fiscal sustainability is only achieved by both reduced spending and increased revenue. Wouldn’t a struggling Alaska family attempt to both cut non-essential spending and increase income? Would they pay themselves a record amount from savings at the expense of their: children’s education, grandma’s retirement, family’s medical insurance and transportation?
Yes, reduce the budget through efficiencies and debate of essential services. Utilize Permanent Fund earnings while still providing a PFD. Do not enshrine a decades-old calculation in the Constitution. Institute an income tax so that we contribute in proportion to our means and include out-of-state workers who use our services yet currently contribute nothing.
— Doug McBride
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