Perhaps Anchorage resident Richard Benner Jr. said it best, "For ten straight years, the Alaska Legislature has spent more than it has taken in and has had to rely on the Constitutional Budget Reserve to make up the difference. That's lunacy!"
Myself, along with about 20 other business leaders from all corners of the state have formed an alliance the aim of which is to take Alaska back from Juneau politicians. We must act as stewards of Alaskans' money, not as spoiled children dependent upon a rich father. We should learn to spend less than what we take in and do so by focusing on constitutional spending.
The new group, called "Alaskans for Responsible Government," has formed with the express purpose of protecting Alaskans from the onslaught of tax-and-spend proposals witnessed during the recently concluded legislative session.
Our mission is four-fold:
1. Be a watchdog group to monitor legislation that would tax or spend the permanent fund.
2. Be an activist group that will pursue a referendum to reverse any new tax or legislation that attacks the permanent fund that may be passed in the future.
3. Pursue an initiative requiring a vote of the people before any new tax or permanent fund spending measures are enacted.
4. Unseat incumbent legislators who have voted to steal from the public, and promote candidates who agree with our efficiency in government agenda.
My motivation for forming this group is because the Legislature has ignored the will of the people, who have been demanding spending cuts instead of new taxes or tapping the fund. It's also because of the public's frustration with the Legislature advocating huge levels of spending, far more per capita than any other state in the union, while turning a deaf ear to their constituents who elected them.
The Legislature is after your money and is getting more and more desperate.
In fact, during this spring's session, an income tax bill passed the House and made it all the way to the Senate floor before finally being defeated. That's why I write with a sense of urgency. The public needs to keep pressure on legislators and discourage them from enacting laws that will take their hard-earned money from them. After all, Alaskans know how better to spend their money than do politicians. Further, since new taxes and spending the permanent fund are such huge issues, it's only right that the public be given a say in how their money is spent.
Alaska spends over 10 times what it did prior to Big Oil and hundreds of millions more than just a few short years ago. These figures led my friends and me to demand major cuts and prioritizing state funding. We want the state to fully fund constitutional requirements, i.e., roads, schools, troopers and the courts, with a dramatic reversal and outright abolition of other, more frivolous programs that merely spread around tax dollars to various special interests.
Since 1995, I've attempted to get the House to pass legislation requiring a vote of the people before any new taxes were enacted. But my efforts have consistently been rejected by pro-big government politicians. Thus, this new approach.
Mr. Benner also said, "The Legislature has not been responsive and ignores Alaskans' concerns about taxes and excessive spending." I agree. The people voted in 1999 to keep politicians out of the permanent fund. Many lawmakers wish to ignore that vote and still insist on taking your money.
I vow to continue to do everything in my power to protect your wallets and ask that you get involved in this effort. Please call or write me. Consider this a call to arms. Do nothing and your children will inherit a Third World country from you. If you want to live in freedom, harmony and prosperity, then join us in this glorious battle.
Rep. Vic Kohring is a 39-year resident of Alaska and currently lives in Wasilla. His phone number is 373-7600 and mailing address is P.O. Box 870515, Wasilla, AK 99687.
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