G.R.A.B. PLAN – ‘GOVERNOR RAIDS ALASKA’S BOUNTY’
Governor Bill Walker threw a hissy last week because he could not convince enough Republicans or Democrats to go along with his plan to tax Alaskans even more than what he has already done by confiscating $1,300 from their next Permanent Fund dividend.
The dividend is our share of the bounty. Now it’s his bounty.
Here’s the Governor’s GRAB plan:
2014 – Walker took no action to cut spending.
2015 – Walker gave the Legislature a budget that was larger than the previous year.
2016 – Walker further refused to cut spending until June. Then he cut:
- $665 million from Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends.
- $430 million from the debt Alaska owes to companies that get tax credits.
Of the $1.4 billion Walker cut, fully $1.1 billion was not to state programs at all.
This, we suggest, is why he is just not hearing from Alaskans that they support taxes.
THE WALKER NARRATIVE: Governor Walker is developing an alternate world narrative. Wherever he travels in Alaska, his story goes, people rush up to him and shake his hand for “doing the right thing.”
It’s a clever tale, and who will contradict it?
But notice how the Rasmuson Foundation has stopped publishing polls that show how Alaskans are more ready than ever to be taxed. In fact, all of the external organizations have gone dark in recent weeks. Gone are the astroturfing (fake grassroots) organizations. Poof.
WALKER PHONE IN: Gov. Bill Walker called into the Anchorage Assembly meeting on July 12.
Then he did a live shoot with a KTVA reporter.
Then he summarized what he said to the Twitter-verse: “Due to legislative inaction, property taxes will go up and Alaskans will have to pay more for services,” he threatened.
“In the social service world, we call this the perpetrator blaming the victim,” said one legislative aide.
“Someone needs to tell the governor that the Anchorage mayor is taxing people at the cap already,” according to an Anchorage resident attending the meeting. “The only thing left to use is the $5 million that Berkowitz and the Assembly promised to rebate to property taxpayers, since we’re already at the cap.”
The voters, with “Yes on 8” reaffirmed the formula for property taxes in April, which prevents exactly the kind of scenario the governor is threatening.
The mill rate was also set in April, which takes care of this year.
In the future, the State could take away municipal assistance and revenue sharing, and cities would have to make up the difference with property taxes, at least in Anchorage. (But not in Indian Country.)
Gov. Walker’s next phone-in to an assembly meeting is said to be Tuesday in the Mat-Su, where he will again tell the borough representatives he needs their help passing taxes.
THREATS AND LIES: At a Fairbanks rally against the Permanent Fund dividend cut, a verbal threat was made against Sen. John Coghill for his vote on SB 128. It was heard by several people.
Legislators are feeling the pressure from the public as Gov. Walker continues to blame them for what he actually did, which is take their money by fiat.
Note to readers: Make no threats against lawmakers, no matter how much you disagree. But readers already knew that. Pass it on to nonreaders: No threats in a civil society.