The governor's proposed budget for fiscal year 2003 is nearly one billion dollars in the red.
Alaska is bleeding red ink as a result of questionable fiscal planning for the last decade. Now it is the job of the 22nd Legislature to make responsible cuts in spending.
Alaska's economy and its well-being are in the hands of 60 legislators elected to make responsible, tough choices. As a whole, we must cut enough but not so much to throw our economy into a tailspin. Careful, responsible choices must be made.
Everyone of us will feel cuts. State agencies must become more efficient and stop careless, reckless spending. One very good example is state-related travel.
My staff has found example after example of travel dollars, that while necessary could have been less than half of the cost paid by the state of Alaska.
Other examples include, but are not limited to, contract work that should have been done by agencies at less than 5 percent of the contract cost.
The Department of Law should be more prudent when intervening on behalf of an agency and should verify facts before filing lawsuits and other court actions. If any of these three examples are corrected, the state could save hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars.
Where does it all end? This year it ends here. The budget will be cut. Revenue measures may have to be considered. Alaska has to learn the same lesson my folks taught me: "Mike, you just can't spend more than you got in your pocket."
Everyone is invited to call my office at 1-800-469-3779. I would be glad to talk to you and listen to your suggestions. You also may e-mail me at:
Rep. Mike Chenault, a Republican from Nikiski, is in his first term representing District 9 in the Alaska House of Representatives.
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