Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Micciche, Olson, Chenault and The Republican Legislature: Playing Hooky, Cutting Class and Passing Gas

OK, I suck at graphic design, but you get the point.
Their one job as legislators is to pass a real budget, you know a balanced one that lasts through the fiscal year. But the best the Republican controlled majority could do is come up with a lame budget with only enough money for a few months and would still fall some $3 Billion short of what was needed to fund government for the remainder of the year.

That was after some drastic cuts to public school education (in addition to draining  $1.3 Billion from the Forward Funding of Education Account), a $30 million cut from the university system (that will result in the elimination of up to 500 jobs - how's that for job creation!?!), and rescinding pay raises for state workers that had already been negotiated.

What it didn't cut were millions of dollars set aside for various boondoggles such as the Knik Arm Bridge, the Road to Nowhere in Juneau and the Susistna Dam.

And thanks to the new oil tax scheme, the state now pays more in oil production credits than it gets from per/barrel oil revenues - about $100 Million more. The Republicans have refused to look at tweaking those credits so that Alaska actually earns money for the oil we own, rather than pay the oil companies for taking it away. Yes, I do realize that the oil companies do pay other taxes (property, pipeline, etc), and I do realize that at the current low prices, SB21 charges the oil companies more than ACES would have, but thank goodness ACES was in effect for the previous years as it padded the state's coffers and made these trying times a bit easier to deal with. If SB21 had been in effect before, we'd be tapping the PFD AND paying a state income tax about now.

These three Kenai Peninsula legislatures, especially Chenault and Micciche have been the driving force that has driven the ship of state up on the rocks of fiscal irresponsibility. Olson, well, he just does what ever Mike Chenault tells him too.

One didn't need to be an accountant to see this fiscal cliff coming. Why last year, even in this lame blog, it was pointed out that oil production wasn't going to be anywhere near where these three (and then Gov S Parnell) predicted. Despite the warnings, Micciche (on the finance committee) voted for the new LIO remodel job (a no-bid deal with a friend of another legislator)and we now have the Taj McHawker, the hugely expensive and unneeded office space.

Gov .Walker ordered the legislature to stay in session and figure out the budget (and to pass Medicaid expansion), but the Republican controlled house and senate thumbed their noses and voted to take a 2-week vacation rather than do the job they were elected to do.

The one solution is to negotiate with the Democrat Minority and tap into the $10 Billion Budget Reserve (thanks to ACES). But the Dems say they will only do so if some education cuts are restored and that production tax credits are re-visited.

And that's where we are today.

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