Do not be fooled by talk of budget cuts
"The Legislature splurged on hundreds of millions of dollars in capital projects for Anchorage" is how the Anchorage Daily news reported on the capital budget this morning.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen the ADN use the word splurge when reporting on the operating budget? Of course not. You never will.
That's because liberals loathe capital budgets and love operating budgets. This year's state operating budget is almost three times the size of the capital budget, but that's just fine with the left leaning Anchorage Daily News. In fact the operating budget has almost doubled in the past three years. Talk about splurging.
The reason liberals loath capital budgets is because it takes government money that could go for entitlement spending and public employee unions and instead builds stuff.
This is why part time Governor Sarah Palin drastically cut her capital budget and why her clone successor, Sean Parnell is doing the same. When you cut capital budgets you anger a few pocket groups of special interests groups but you get the favor of the left leaning media.
But when a politician has the courage to cut the operating budget, he or she walks directly into a hornet's nest of the entitlement culture, public employee unions and the (I never met a government program I didn't like) Anchorage Daily News.
This year's capital budget will cost the state 2.1 billion and the feds will add in an additional billion.
The 2 billion the state will now spend to build stuff like a crime lab, road improvements, a sports arena and science building for the university system, airport improvements, and a shelter for battered women is money that will not be sucked up by the wasteful, bloated, ever increasing operating budget.
Yes it is true there is some pork in the capital budget, but most of the money will go to needed projects.
Do not let the media fool you in the upcoming days when they praise Governor Sean Parnell for cutting some of the capital budget. Do not be fooled by thinking Parnell is a conservative when he increases the operating budget by 10 percent and yet he nips a little from the capital budget.
It is the operating budget that will cripple our children's ability to produce wealth in Alaska because the state tax burden will be too much to carry in the future. We can't keep doubling the operating budget every three or four years.
It takes political courage to make some tough cuts in the operating budget. It also takes political courage to reduce the investment killing tax structure we currently have in the state through ACES.
Political courage is something Governor Sean Parnell has very little of. Either that or he is a true liberal and believes like the Daily News that government should be in the business of paying state employees huge salaries, and unsustainable pensions. And Parnell must believe that the entitlement culture should grow and grow and grow and grow.
OP-ED By Dan Fagan, Publisher, The Alaska Standard