Gov. Bill Walker claimed he had spending under control, but Alaska’s state spending was $13,762 per resident for the 2018 fiscal year — the second-highest in the nation and more than double the national average.
The mantle has been passed from Walker to Mark Begich, and Begich says that it’s simply impossible to reduce spending further. Consequently, he agreed with Walker that there was no option other than to take your PFD and impose statewide income taxes and other taxes. When have increased taxes and government spending ever produced prosperity?
Alaskans should be wary. Walker-Mallott unilaterally expanded President Barack Obama’s Medicaid expansion program and, due to gross budget mismanagement, $100 million is emergency supplemental funding (mostly state funds) was allocated so that medical providers could receive payment. This funding could have been leveraged to improve public safety, roads or education.
Instead, we have runaway costs and more Alaskans than ever dependent on government entitlement programs. We have almost 45,000 (and counting) able-bodied Alaskans under Medicaid expansion and there is no effort to stem the out-of-control growth or spending. In fact, the Begich and Walker administrations celebrate entitlement program growth.
We need a new direction that focuses on economic development through Alaska’s rich natural resources. The disgraced and lame-duck governor and Begich want to move away from natural resource development and grow government with your PFD and a big slice of your income. For less government and more opportunity through private sector economic development, Mike Dunleavy is the clear choice.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.