An income tax bill that made it through the Alaska House of Representatives before dying in the Senate, as well as continuing raids on the Constitutional Budget Reserve are proof the state is heading in the wrong direction, said Mel Krogseng, Republican candidate for the seat from House District 33.
Krogseng, a resident of Soldotna, said her experience in the private sector as the operator of a fishing camp, her years as a legislative aide and time spent in the administration of Gov. Walter Hickel qualify her to go to Juneau on behalf of district residents. Experience also is what differentiates her from other candidates, she said.
She said she learned a lot about waste and inefficiency during the eight months she spent in 1993 working for Hickel -- first in the Department of Corrections and then as deputy commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services.
"There is a lot of duplication and fat we can trim," she said.
She said a fractured concrete slab in front of her Corrections office hadn't been repaired because the department heads said they didn't have the "$85,000 to $95,000" to get it done. She said she got inmate labor to pour the new slab for $2,800. She also said she turned the prospect of spending $120,000 to hold a Social Services training exercise in Anchorage to avoid a U.S. Department of Labor fine into a $3,000 teleconference.
"That kind of thing won't solve the $900 million deficit," but if you carry it through the whole government, we could save a lot of dollars," she said.
Krogseng said it is time for the Legislature to insist on "zero-based budgeting." That means departments building their budgets from scratch, rather than beginning with the prior year's budget.
She would consolidate state services. One place that could happen would be with the Alaska State Troopers. The largest detachment is based in Anchorage, a municipality that has a police force.
"There are many areas in the state that don't have police services," she said. "Why not reassign some troopers to other areas?"
Even the peninsula could use more trooper coverage, said Krogseng, a resident of the Ridgeway area.
She believes the process by which departments promulgate regulations needs to be reviewed. Often, she said, regulations don't seem to resemble the legislation that sets the policies from which they are derived.
She said she would work to change policy so more of the Alaska Permanent Fund could be invested in the state. "If we don't believe in our own economy, I think we are in trouble," she said.
She would look at all options regarding use of the fund, but would protect the fund's principal, she said.
She supports building new roads into unopened areas of the state to encourage use of the state resources. She said, however, that the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is top-heavy in administration.
Krogseng, 60, and her husband, Bob, have three children and two grandchildren. She is a registered nurse and a former U.S. Air Force officer.
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