Alaska needs 'revolution' to cut budget

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2002

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations ... it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government. ..."

-- Declaration of Independence

It's always with the best of intentions that government agencies are created and go about their business of controlling us. But we find:

A Wasilla property owner's land declared "valuable wetlands," preventing him from developing it and costing him over $100,000. No compensation was offered. A man stripped of his driver's license, keeping him from driving to work because the Child Support Enforcement Division used another state's court order requiring payment for a "child" of 22 who had been in the armed forces for four years. Home schooling parents threatened to have their homes entered for curriculum inspection to ensure it's "appropriate," including a threat to ban religious study materials. A Wasilla business forced to relinquish its license, simply because the owner missed an arbitrary paperwork deadline. Under state "rules," it would be forced to close shop for two years. The Parks Highway redesigned with the effect of killing off customer access, despite a convenience store owner's pleas. A whistle-blowing DOT employee fired, only to have an investigation reveal he did no wrong. He was never rehired or compensated.

These are cases I personally know about. There are thousands of others. Thomas Jefferson wrote: "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." He was referring to King George's men in the 18th century. Does it not describe exactly what is happening to us today?

A revolution is needed in Alaska. Not with guns but with resolve to slash government's colossal $7.3 billion budget. With an army of 22,000 government workers "helping us," they consume a billion dollars a year in salaries and benefits. The degree to which they do this would make Josef Stalin proud. The result is a monstrosity that controls nearly every facet of our lives. Let's free Alaskans from government's shackles, from its burdensome regulations, grossly excessive spending and the pending doom of crushing taxes politicians now demand.

I propose a more creative approach. It's going to require tremendous effort, but it's the only way we're going to take back our state from Big Brother Juneau. The following 10-point outline should be put in place immediately:

1. Cut spending by $500 million this year and another $100 million for each of the next five years, for a total of one billion dollars. Have legislative sessions every other year, and restrict them to 60 days.

2. Place a moratorium on new taxes, prohibit spending the permanent fund, cap spending and contract out numerous services, like road maintenance. Remove half of the 4,000-plus laws enacted since statehood and eliminate 80 percent of the tens of thousands of regulations government agencies created.

3. Release the state's massive land holdings to the people with no strings and create tax incentives to spur private-sector, small business growth.

4. Break up the government-controlled monopoly on schools, giving parents tax credits for sending their children to the school of their choice. Consolidate school districts of 100 students or less.

5. Cut non-essential government workers by 25 percent, put in place a hiring freeze and cap salaries at $70,000.

6. Merge half of all agencies, including Natural Resources, Environmental Conser-vation, Law, Economic Development and Fish and Game. Eliminate the Department of Administration.

7. Cut welfare and public assistance by 50 percent and eliminate "welfare" to cities in the form of revenue sharing.

8. Close money-losing rural campuses of the university not on the road system (excluding the University of Southeast, Juneau) and cut 20 percent of highly paid administrative positions.

9. Close half of government office complexes throughout the state, including the Capitol and the State Office Building in Juneau. Move the capital into the state-owned Atwood Building in Anchorage, including all department headquarters. Close half of the state's prison facilities by contracting out 50 percent of the inmate population to less costly, out-of-state private prisons.

10. Eliminate tax dollars to tourism, fisheries, agriculture, public TV, radio and the arts and close the governor's mansion.

When we've done this, when liberal newspapers and government parasites are told firmly that we intend to fight for our liberty, then and only then can we rejoice and take pride in Alaska!

Vic Kohring is a fourth term Republican who represents Wasilla and Peters Creek in the Alaska State Legislature. He is chair of the House Transportation Committee.

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