Congratulations to the Petersburg High School class of 2002. You got the job done on time, and left your school in better shape than you found it. Most importantly, you brought home the bacon, all $154,000 worth.
Unfortunately, we can't say the same about the Alaska State Legislature. The contrast between the class of 2002 and state lawmakers is stark.
No extra school days were required. The class of 2002 hit the books, passed the exams, got a reprieve on the required state exit exam and moved on. The state legislature, whose most important job is to establish a long term revenue plan for the state, skirted that issue and ranted that they had saved us from their ''tax and spend'' counterparts. All they did was delay the inevitable pain that will come when the Constitutional Budget Reserve runs dry. Oh yes, they had to extend their session an extra week just to get their routine work done.
The Class of 2002 didn't bicker. This class patched up their spats and moved on to accomplish their goals. They worked together like champions. Our lawmakers' political football game kicked into high gear. The House came closest to putting forth a fiscal plan that would put state spending in line with available revenue, but the Senate would hear nothing of it. Alaskans deserve better than that, but fortunately, we've got the class of 2002 to look up to.
The students stayed focused. As the year came to a close the PHS gang buckled down and studied their way to the final exams. They polished their shoes and their speeches and headed towards commencement. Our lawmakers didn't even get around to passing a capital budget within their allotted 121 day session, let alone discuss substantive issues like subsistence. As they headed to their final days their act was anything but polished.
The Class of 2002 excelled. We can't remember the last time PHS had three valedictorians and 15 National Honor Society members. They picked up piles of scholarship money.
The legislature resembled a Three Stooges episode and they left the public to pay out piles of money for their extended stay in Juneau.
The Class of 2002 made us proud. It was one of the district's largest classes and it was filled with talent. Mechanics, scholars, artists, performers -- you name it, they had the skills to do just about anything that needed doing.
The legislature began the session with a long list of issues to tackle and we thought, talented people to pull it off. Unfortunately, they muffed their chance to pass legislation that would make ours a better State. Our legislators have left us angry, disappointed and leaderless. A few who refused to play politics deserve credit, but that is a paltry few.
Our legislature is in need of an overhaul and we hope voters will take care of that business at the ballot box.
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