Long-term fiscal solution easier explained than done
My wife and I were traveling when the legislative session ended. As I had predicted, the Legislature did not come up with a plan to deal with the looming fiscal problems. Even though Gov. Tony Knowles would not have supported any realistic overall plan, the legislators could have and should have got the ball rolling.
The long-term fiscal solution is simple to explain, but it is difficult to make happen.
First, there must be a process established for the effective and orderly downsizing of state government and state-funded entities including K-12 schools and the University of Alaska. The non-oil economy of Alaska simply cannot support the size and cost of state government and state-funded programs that plentiful oil money built. No downsizing. No public support for anything.
Second, we bring back the income tax. The free ride is over. Plus, we can start getting nonresident workers to pay their share. Downsize first, or no public support for taxes.
Even with the first two, more funding will be needed. Where else but capping the dividend and using earnings of the fund to help pay for needed state programs and services? Again, downsize first.
All three steps are necessary. We cannot cut enough to solve the problem, but without downsizing the tax burden would be so high as to destroy the Alaskan economy. Anyone who believes a natural gas pipeline is just around the corner to solve the fiscal problems is totally out of touch with reality. And, yes, we must cap the dividend.
I'll be watching this election season to see which politicians for whatever office will tell us the reality of the world rather than the fantasy so many people want to hear.
William J. Phillips
Donations of blood, time always needed in community
It has come to my attention that there is much in the community that can be done to help each other and save lives. First, I would like to address the recent shortage of blood at the local blood bank. It is important that the blood bank stay stocked and ready in the case of an emergency. Currently, the Kenai Peninsula Blood Bank, located in the Blazy Mall, is dangerously low stocked as far as O negative blood goes. O negative is a very important to everyone since it is the universal blood type.
After Sept. 11, community members, feeling the need to aid their country, rushed the blood bank to a point that people were being turned away. Now, 10 months after the terror attacks, calm has returned to America, especially in Alaska and the smaller towns within our great state. The problem arises that people no longer feel threatened, and thus, no longer feel the need to help. But help is still needed for there is still much that can be done.
And that brings me to my second point: community service. Attention must be drawn to the fact that though we may not be in immediate peril of terrorists, there are still many dangers that plague Alaskans. Accidents happen, and though they may not have such an extensive affect as a national state of emergency, they very much affect our friends and family here, at home, in our small communities.
The need for blood and community service is still as strong as ever, and we must continue to stand strong by first ensuring that if an emergency occurs, whether it be of international, national or local capacity, that we are prepared to deal with it.
We all need heroes, we all need someone to look up to, and we all wish to feel safe. So I say to you, go out and donate, whether it be blood or just a little bit of your time. I encourage all of you to take upon yourselves this simple task. You may just save a life.
Chelsea A. Bailey
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