So, the new LIO “Taj Mahawker” in Anchorage is going to get $500,000 in new furniture. For this nice little spending spree, we can thank the members of the Legislative Council, which includes Speaker Chenault and Senator Micciche. Of course, this elite group had already authorized $100,000 for furniture design, so the new office furniture expenditure will be a measly $600,000. Wonder if they are getting gold inlay on the chairs? Oh, and they also approved the highest bid of $343,246 for the purchase of new audio/visual equipment for the grotesquely expensive downtown Anchorage office. The rent for this extravagance will be over $280,000 per month, which is four times the current rent of $57,000 for the office in Eagle River. Outrageous? You bet it is, but this is small potatoes, comparatively speaking.
Since the love fest started between the majority in the legislature and the corporate world, there have been some extremely offensive spending bills passed this year. SB 21 is the most offensive, in my view. Why does the state need to give tax break “incentives” to some of the richest companies in the world? They aren’t going to pull up their drills and go home if they don’t get more tax breaks regardless of what you hear from the “Vote No” group, which happens to be funded primarily by BP, ConocoPhillips and Exxon. These companies have made extraordinary profits from our oil resources so they aren’t going anywhere. Employees of the oil companies determined the outcome of this bill with their “yes” votes. The Republican majority is about as fiscally conservative as a mosquito sucking blood from an Alaskan, and they are on track to suck every resource this state has unless we vote them out of office.
Just some of the spending bills passed by these Republican controlled “fiscal conservatives,” include: SB 21, which is a nightmare for the state budget, but a gift to the oil companies. HB 287, the tax credits for the oil refineries in the state at the tune of $10 million a year for each refinery. SB 99, the $250 million in state-funded loans to finance risky mining projects in Southeast that couldn’t get financing through regular channels. Alaskans have been told we must tighten our fiscal belts. Really? Perhaps the Republican majority should take their own advice.
We can return control of our state government to the citizens by electing people who truly want to represent us. Three local candidates offer a change from this wasteful spending; Shauna Thornton for House District 30, Rocky Knudsen for House District 29 and Eric Treider for Senate District O. I think we must change the make-up of the legislature so the focus will be on Alaskans, not corporations.