Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that the State of Alaska is in a fiscal crisis. State expenditures have been cut, and other revenue sources have been explored. Unfortunately, our elected leaders have failed to come up with a long-term plan to address the state’s fiscal woes.
Just about everyone agrees cuts in government spending are good, but even the strongest supporters of less government begin to have a problem when programs that they use are cut. If someone else’s programs are cut, and we don’t see an impact on ourselves; we’re okay with the cuts.
Cuts to the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities seem to affect all of us. Even if you don’t drive, the delay in delivery of goods and services is noticeable.
Closing the Birch Lake Maintenance Station has resulted in an increase in the area covered by our local DOT crews. The crews are still out, working the same roads, on the same schedule, but it takes longer to move down the list due to a larger area, fewer staff, and less equipment.
I have noticed the change, but I believe our local crews are doing everything they can to keep up with the plowing, and we just have to live with the reduction in service.
Hopefully the legislature will be able to come up with a long-term plan for the state’s budget with the upcoming session that starts later this month. We’ve seen our Permanent Fund Dividend cut, increases in some fees, and proposals for sales and income taxes. The reality is that it will take a combination of reduced spending and increased revenue, and our elected officials must come up with a plan to address the problem.
If they don’t agree on a plan during the upcoming two-year session, we need to look for other representatives when the 2018 election rolls around. Let them know you are watching.