Alaska's past has been filled with economic booms and busts, but it doesn't have to be that way. Managed correctly, we have the necessary resources to provide a first-class education for our children, impart responsible resource development, ensure the public safety and maintain fiscal responsibility.
Our government must learn to live within its income. Balancing the budget, though, does not mean robbing your permanent fund dividend or imposing new taxes; and, a tax by any other name is still a tax.
How, you may ask. There are many areas within the state budget where we can save.
We can provide incentives to state employees to save money thereby streamlining government. Currently, state employees are penalized if they don't spend every dollar they are budgeted. Common belief is if you don't spend it this year, you surely won't get it next year. Let's look at zero-based budgeting.
Consolidation of services will save thousands of dollars on administrative costs as upper management positions are eliminated. Eliminating unnecessary overhead is one of the easiest cuts. Presently we spend thousands of dollars on travel. Our employees could just as easily conduct the state's business through teleconferencing as is done in the private sector.
Privatizing functions that can more easily be done by the private sector is generally more cost effective. It has been proven time and again that the private sector conducts its business in a more cost effective manner. An example for privatizing is the Department of Corrections halfway houses.
Finally we must realize that government cannot be all things to all people.
One area where we must concentrate is education. Our children are our most valuable asset. They will determine our future. We must provide adequate funding, but money alone will not solve the problems. We must get back to basics and restore parental involvement in our schools. There are many areas within the education budget where monies can be saved which will then make those monies available to the classroom. Let's consolidate small school districts. Do we really need one superintendent for each district wherein there is only one school? The education system would be better served by consolidating these schools into one district.
Alaska's future depends on intelligent, responsible development of our many resources. We must open ANWR, build the gas pipeline, enhance our transportation infrastructure and develop a stable supply of energy (e.g., re-examine the Susitna Hydroelectric Project that was taken off the table in 1984). Water is an inexpensive source of energy. Enhanced infrastructure and lower energy costs will bring industries, industries will bring jobs, and jobs will curb crime.
Education, resource development, fiscal responsibility, public safety these are the areas I will tackle first. I have the knowledge, the experience and the tenacity to make the tough decisions that must be made if we are to ever get our house in order.
I am Mel Krogseng, Republican, House District 33, asking for your vote on Aug. 24.
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