SPECIAL THIS IS (MAYBE) THE END EDITION
Deep Pockets and Little Shame
There’s some chance that this will be the final e-news for awhile.
That sound you hear is me cheering.
I’m more than ready to go home. We have spent most of the past month engaged in spectacularly unproductive politicking. There are lots of reasons. You can argue about them if you have the time and energy. What do I think? Let’s just say that the people with the most political power have earned the most blame and leave it at that.
And the results? An operating budget that zoomed past $9 billion – almost $7 billion in state spending – and a capital budget that busted the $3 billion mark – about $2 billion in state spending. That’s nearly $13,000 per Alaskan in state spending. You figure to get $13,000 worth of state government in the next year? Be honest now. Do you?
Then there’s the question of how long we can keep this up. Oil prices are high right now – more than $100 a barrel. Will they stay high? And oil production continues to decline. How long do you think we can keep whistling past the graveyard?
What we didn’t do is save anything for the future. Some legislators claim that money we put into yet another state fund – the Statutory Budget Reserve – is savings. But it isn’t. It’s just moving the money from one pants pocket to another. It can be spent any time.
That doesn’t seem too skookum to me. So, as I write this, I am trying to balance some of that spending by putting $2.2 billion into the Alaska Permanent Fund. That’s about as likely to happen as me flapping my wings and flying out of here. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Oh well. That’s politics. As my father used to say: If you’re looking for sympathy, you can find it between sasparilla and symposium is the dictionary.