As the current legislative session lurches to its disastrous conclusion, the question of how this all ends comes to mind. The big questions are as follows:
- Exactly what does the democrat / RINO majority in the House want?
- How painful is the governor going to make it?
- Will the majority in the Senate roll?
Based on watching this slow-motion train wreck for the last 90 days, I believe the democrats and RINOs in the House want two pieces most of all – a replacement for SB21 that will jack up taxes on the oil and natural gas producers, and an income tax. Everything else is negotiable. These two things are the hill they will die upon.
All in all, these two taxes raise roughly a billion dollars. They also target every single working Alaskan while those who make a virtue of not working (subsistence lifestyle, anyone?) continue to get their checks. They also target the revenue generator of the state, the oil and natural gas producers with increased taxes and fees, making Alaska the only oil producing province in the world doing this.
The democrats running the House have refused to consider any budget cuts. They appropriated the entire earnings of the Permanent Fund, all $4 billion of it, and used it to fund their bloated, obscene budget.
When the Senate sent over their legislation converting the Permanent Fund into a long-term funding source, the democrats in the House pandered to everyone by promising a PFD $250 larger than the senate passed if their budget were passed. Cute. That’s what they think you are worth. Of course, on one hand they pay out a PFD. And on the other, they take it all back via their income tax. Nobody panders better than democrats, promising on one hand while lowering the boom with the other.
Second question is how painful will the governor make it? The answer is as painful as humanly possible. Walker will channel his inner (Phony) Tony Knowles. And if you think Walker and the democrats running his office will stop with simply padlocking access state parks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The governor’s office took the opening presented it by Senate budget language to announce closure of a pair of Pioneer’s Homes. The Senate language did not order the closure. Unfortunately it did not prohibit Walker and his appointees from scaring a bunch of seniors to death, which they instantly and happily did with no small amount of glee. http://mustreadalaska.com/pioneergate-governor-retracts-closure-pioneer-home-apologize/
Walker’s fun with the Pioneer’s homes are just a start of what will be a remarkably ugly summer, all aided and abetted by Alice Rogoff, democrat friendly media and the unions. Strap em on, as it is going to be a very rough ride. A ride for all the marbles.
As whether the Senate majority rolls is entirely up to us. Art Chance writing in Must Read Alaska a week or so ago makes the case that it will be up to everyone who disagrees with the direction Walker and his union-supported cronies want to go. If Art is right, and I believe he is, we are going to have a summer just as nasty as the darkest days of the Trump – Clinton campaign last year. http://mustreadalaska.com/springtime-juneau-the-end-game/
The problem is that Trump was and continues to be a master persuader. Who on our side can do that?
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He is a small business owner and Information Technology professional.