Thursday, May 21, 2015

Starving the Beast While Feeding the Piggies (and robbing the bank)

Petting party (pic from the Juneau Empire)
I hope that no one is surprised. Republicans have long been enamored with the concept of cutting taxes to the point that there is no money left for basic government functions to exist. it's called Starving the Beast. Witness Kansas and Louisiana, two states that have recently tried this approach and are sinking into deficits so great that schools are shutting down early and basic government services are being cut as massive tax breaks are being given to the wealthy and to corporate sponsors.  

And now it's happening in Alaska. 

The Republican controlled majority under the previous governor, rammed through massive reductions in the money we sell the oil that the state owns to the petroleum companies. And to make matters worse, these same 'fiscally conservative' politicians gave their employers (the oil companies) production credits that will exceed the revenue we get from selling the oil by $650 million over the net two years at the current rate. We are paying the oil companies to take the oil the state owns! 

The mess has led to a $3.2 Billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. Mike Chenault (owns an oil service business) and Kevin Meyers (employed by Conoco Phillips) have not been able to come up with a balanced budget and their only solution has been to blame the Democrats. Why, because they need the support of the Dems to access the $9 Billion in the Constitutional Budget Reserve. And the Dems say that we should get our priorities straight by cutting funding for pork projects like the Susuitna Dam, the Knik Arm Bridge, the TajMahawker LIO building in Anchorage and maybe reduce the hundreds of millions we are paying the oil companies for taking our oil. (Read Chris Tuck's take on it all here).

But the Republicans are doing what Republicans do. Cutting education, refusing to help out the working poor in need of health care, cutting public TV and radio, rescinding negotiated pay raises (but gladly taking their own excessive per diem) and etc. And making the oil companies and their cronies richer and richer.

And now, maybe they have an endgame: to raid the Permanent Fund. They don't need the 2/3 vote of the combined house and senate to tap into this. It will be interesting to see if they have the balls enough to do this. Of course, they will blame the Dems, just like they have blamed the Dems for the current mess. It's easier to blame the innocent than take responsibility.

It will get interesting if they do that.

No comments:

Large Visitor Globe