As 2015 winds down, households across Alaska will be with their families reflecting on what is truly important. As 2016 begins, Alaskan lawmakers must do the same. When the legislature reconvenes in 28 days, legislators will have to rectify the budget Governor Bill Walker’s administration has proposed. This proposal, aimed at plugging the several billion dollar deficit, doesn’t solve the problem. It does impose a whole host of new taxes, including an income tax, and actually increases spending. New and higher taxes on Alaskans who are struggling to make ends meet, while sparing the bloated state budget are not responsible solutions to our state’s financial woes. Taking more money out of the private sector to pay for a bigger state government kicks the can down the road and further hurts Alaska. This holiday season, Alaska needs to focus on what is truly important: its economic future. The state is in economic disarray and lawmakers need to do what is responsible and fix our budget.
No one is suggesting this will be easy, in fact, it will require lawmakers and Alaskans to make hard decisions on some of the state’s most complex issues. However, at the end of the day, what is more important than an economically stable and prosperous future?
As Headlamp continues to follow developments in Alaska’s budget, stay with us as we unveil our “Would you rather?” series; an in-depth look at the hard choices on Alaska’s horizon, their implications, and what your lawmakers can do to reduce the state budget while maintain a strong economy. Stay warm and stay tuned.