A time to listen - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 25, 2020

A time to listen

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The ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

That tiny, little scream you heard from our friends on the Left after they saw the headline, “Former Dunleavy budget director Donna Arduin returns to train legislative candidates,” was perhaps to be expected.

Facing perhaps a $2 billion budget deficit if the state pays out a traditional, full Permanent Fund dividend, three conservative groups put together a two-day budget seminar in Palmer earlier this month for dozens of new lawmakers and legislative candidates, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The problem with a traditional, full Permanent Fund dividend is that there is not enough money to pull it off, but nobody wants to hear that, or be told taxes are Alaska’s only way out of the red ink.

Early in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s tenure, he brought Arduin to Alaska after slashing the budget and diverting tax revenue from local governments to balance the budget and offer full dividends. She quickly became the face of the administration for those vehemently and vocally opposed to Dunleavy’s plan, and they were not bashful about letting her know where they stood.

Despite that, she came back to consult and offer advice as the state continues its slog through red ink. We can only hope the politicians that heard her earlier this month actually listened. They are going to need all the help they can get.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • It was a great budget seminar that informed current/future legislators about reforming the Alaska budget. Now they have a head start on doing productive work to manage the spending side.

  • Perhaps the author would have served their audience better by contacting someone who attended and getting their input. Less than 10% of the conference was devoted to the PFD while 100% of this article is devoted to disparaging the PFD. Who is revealing their cards?

  • The objective of the idiots in Juneau is to attempt to indenture the working public by taxing their wages to support the unsustainable welfare programs that are pushing the state under water. Buying food, fuel, air travel, and medical care are not in the purview of government, under the constitution.

  • Legislators, keep cutting! Start with the bloated, wasteful, sacred cows like UA and Alaska Ferry system.

  • Wait a minute…”be told taxes are Alaska’s only way out of the red ink.” Taxes cannot begin to maintain the state and municipal government monopsony we built with oil revenues! We are trying to have the same amount of milk without owning nearly as many cows. Taxes are dollars handed back and forth between ourselves and therefore merely pour the diminished milk production from one bucket to another. We are 730,000 consumers expecting the same number of Boeings, Subarus, Oreo cookies, F250s and Skidoos as would be the case had oil production remained at 2 million barrels per day (or even better increased corresponding to our increase in population). The fact is that when we did produce 2 million barrels per day there were only 500,000 of us. Taxes are a delusion requested by those who are retired, work for government, or live on the dole. Taxes penalize those still producing something here in Alaska, a tiny minority compared with the 80,000 that work for state, municipal and federal government, that the world wants to buy. Taxes could only help if all Alaskans promise to never again buy anything not produced in Alaska and also promise to not go outside of Alaska to spend money. Our economy needs to rebalance output and consumption, and that will occur no matter what government does; partly through increased output (I hope) and partly through decreased consumption (which will include some amount of population loss). This is common sense, and it just happens to also be fundamental economics. Taxes increase the scope of the problem and may at most offer a temporary place for dishonest politicians to hide. Is there anyone who doesn’t get this?

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