Sure sign of spring: Budget time again

Temperatures have been milder and daylight hours are growing longer. It can only mean one thing — it’s budget season again.

Lawmakers at all levels of government are currently wrestling with spending plans for the coming fiscal year, or are in the preparation stages to do so. Certainly, Congress’ struggle to come up with a spending plan has been in the headlines, but there’s also plenty of budgets in the works that call for spending much closer to home.

The state Legislature is just about to the halfway point of its 90-day session. A number of other topics have garnered a great deal of attention of late, but hopefully, our legislators have some thoughts on how the state should be spending its money.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough administration is set to begin assessing department needs for the upcoming fiscal year, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District administration made a request of $45.5 million from the borough assembly as the local contribution to its budget.

In the coming months, city councils in Kenai and Soldotna also will be looking ahead, and planning accordingly.

Even at the local level, putting together a budget is no easy task. Administrators and elected officials are called on to make some difficult decisions when it comes to balancing revenue with what it costs to provide services.

Government spending is always a hot topic, but all too often there is little public input until after the money is already spent. Whether you’re of the opinion that government is spending like drunken sailors, or that more funds should be appropriated, or anywhere in between, now is the time to take a look at what our municipalities are planning to do with public funds and share your thoughts with the people we’ve elected to make those decisions.

More

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more

Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Read more

Letters to the editor

Chuitna mine threatens Alaska way of life

Read more