Tweets of the day: #AKGOV

Bets on how long the honeymoon lasts?


14 thoughts on “Tweets of the day: #AKGOV

  1. Tom Bodett

    Governor “Desperate for a Legacy” Walker brought this upon himself when he ran a campaign with a narrative that the state was in dire need of immediate action. Well, let’s see some action old man.

  2. Garand Fellow

    I hope the honeymoon will be long but the odds are against it. First, there is something in the water on the 3rd Floor that causes arrogance toward the legislature. Also, the new COS and the legislative leaders have a rocky past. Finally, with lots of new, inexperienced people there are chances of screw-ups and misstatements that will destroy the honeymoon before needed fiscal decisions are made. The press will give the new governor lots of rope but if he lets them continue to think they are important (now that the election is over and the press is unimportant) they will use the rope to hang him when he finally has to test his leadership skills.

    Governor Walker has to lead Alaskans as we begin to decide how much government we can afford, and it will be much less government than what we have now which is how much government we want. The question isn’t who we can tax so that we can keep this huge government going, the question is how much bureaucracy can this economy really afford. And there is absolutely no sane person who can look at the world energy and financial environments and expect a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to Southcentral tidewater. The only question is whether the economic dislocations will be efficient and reliable, or whether remaining state cash reserves will be spent tilting at windmills and propping up state and municipal government until there is no alternative to jumping off the cliff.

    I would propose to Governor-elect Walker that if we are going to be unintelligent about this, and if we want the economic dislocations to be as severe and deep as possible, we can continue to prop up this bloated state and municipal government structure (it’s really one structure). But if we are to continue to maintain government at unsustainable levels until all the cash is gone then it makes sense to first take the controversial cash off the table; let’s use the PCE and the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund before we use the general budget reserves. That gives us a better chance of having some cash left later when hopefully we do become intelligent and good financial managers. No one should expect decisions like this to be made of course.

    If we want the economic dislocations to be as easy on Alaskans as possible the state should right now invoice municipalities for their share of the PERS and TRS unfunded liabilities. Reimbursement of municipal school debt service should end. Capital projects now funded and under construction should be examined for possible abandonment. The senior welfare program that replaced and now exceeds in cost the earlier longevity bonus should be ended. Medicaid and the BSA need to be reduced in nominal dollars. Other subsidies like PCE should be ratcheted down. Unless or until the courts say no all subsidies like PCE need to be placed on a path to curtailment.

    I predict that many people will now look for more ways to involve the courts at this early stage (instead of at the end when it cannot and will not be resolved without the courts). That is, what Fairbanks and Ketchikan did to involve the courts in the school funding discussion will lead the way to seeking court rulings that resolve some of the many other government funding anomalies hidden or allowed up to now by petroleum revenues. We have all been near-do-wells spending other people’s money (we thought) so we could be spendthrifts, and in fact we were spendthrifts of course.

    If Governor-elect Walker is no more of a leader than his predecessors, and if he postpones this fiscal comeuppance while first spending all the reserves then we may all one day wish we had left Alaska right about now and watched this from afar. One litmus test is if the legislative leadership and the governor are calling each other names by the 4th week of the session then intelligent Alaskans will be selling and shorting. If the state of the state speech doesn’t list state general fund programs that will be eliminated this year then we are in big trouble. If instead that speech tells us a gas line will save us all then there won’t be a UHaul truck available to rent by Labor Day.

    There will be a honeymoon of some duration. Governor Walker should use this period to make big decisions that will reconcile expenditures with expected revenues from known, proven sources. That means eliminating programs rather than hiding behind the fiction of so-called across-the-board cuts. That means hoarding cash by not even waiting until July 1 to spend less. That means he will have to be a leader, and the easiest time for him to do that is very soon. Unity will need to mean making both Republicans and Democrats squeal if Governor Walker is going to solve this problem.

  3. Andy Matoon Scott

    Using big numbers in a sloppy fashion, the current HHS budget is 2500 million.
    Let’s say it grows to 3000 million with the DC kickback. Divide that by say
    50,000 folks, that yields $ 60,000 / yr per recipient.

    Holy budget buster Batman. Lets say we have 200,000 folks who actually pay
    taxes. That equates to $ 15,000 per year per income tax payer. That is for the HHS budget only. If you are lucky enough to have a job you will be blessed cuz
    keeping Alaskans first will take at least thirty percent of your income in taxes, and this does not come close to balancing the budget.

    I guess I can move back home and fight cows to go the outhouse, recycle some corncobs , ponder the old small government days and embrace realism. At least there I can see the BS on the ground and avoid stepping into it, up here it gets flung in your face on a daily basis .

  4. birchstick

    Is he allowed at least 24 hours on the job to respond to your question, or must it be now?
    He should have started firing people left and right as soon as it was High Noon!

  5. Hooked

    When will Gov. Transparency provide some information about how many people the Medicaid expansion will benefit (15,000 – 40,000+ is quite a range) and how much money the state will be on the hook for once full federal funding stops? With the budget headed the way it is, it seems pretty irresponsible to put the state in a position of accepting an expensive undefined unfunded mandate or kicking an undisclosed number of people off Medicaid in a couple of years. He’s not a candidate any more, time to start making tough decisions, not handing our promises.

  6. DB

    Jon K. Well said. I don’t think that is going to happen until Alice sells the ADN. I believe that the ADN will continue to “shape the battlefield” for the liberal agenda. Good luck Alaska. Truth will be hard to find.

  7. Jon K

    Unless Walker makes some egregious mistakes, my bet is the honeymoon will last awhile. The press is going to give him a lot of running room giving the budgetary mess he is inheriting – as it should. The press will also give him the benefit of the doubt on most issues, which is a good thing – the ADN was way too cynical with the Parnell Administration and appeared to be on a mission to delegitimize everything they did. Reporters became spokesman for the opposition especially on oil and gas issues. But the state cannot move forward when the press misinforms, fails to present facts or educate the public, and when it has knives out. Just a few examples: how many regular readers of the ADN understand that SB 21 was a trade off relative to ACES – we took away credits but lowered rates at higher prices; and we take in less relative to ACES at higher prices but we get more at lower prices? How many readers have even heard the Administration’s argument for why we need a confidentiality provision for AK LNG? How many readers know about all of the work that the state does to lower energy costs in rural Alaska?

    Hopefully the honeymoon means more accurate and informative reporting and fewer hit pieces that mislead the public from reporters like Dermot Cole.

  8. Leonard

    Jeezus! Call the waaaaahmbulance. Your guy lost get over it. Then you say “while I want him to succeed…”

    Right. Hypocrite much?

  9. The Plumber

    Today was a day of welcome and celebration. REgardless of your political philosophy or choice of gubernatorial candidates, the election is behind us. Let’s all join together in hope and blessings for our new leaders.

  10. Leonard

    At anonymous on the hillside

    You failed cuz you were both cynical and disrespectful. If not at an inauguration of the first Alaska Native to be elected to state wide office, then when? And it was in keeping with the theme, or did you not see the opening part of the ceremony? It was a fitting and perfect display.

    Feel free to wear your hillbilly attire at your next family gathering.

  11. Don't like the gov who made deals to be king

    That wasn’t organization that got the website changed so quickly. That was arrogance. Walker probably had someone push the button for his administration’s page to go live at 11:59 a.m.

    Of course Hollis French was absent. Walker and Mallot threw him under the bus. Why would he attend?

    And do you really believe Walker’s sexy sound bite “You’re first” crap? As if Gov. Parnell didn’t put us or our state first? As if Parnell’s SB21 isn’t saving us from utter financial ruin now that the price of oil plummeted? As if Gov. Parnell didn’t put the safety of women and children first with his Choose Respect campaign? When did Walker put Alaskans first? This was always about him winning and beating Parnell out of his vitriol from his loss in 2010. When did Walker have a plan? A coherent, concrete thing to say on the campaign trail? All we know at all from Walker is that his pesky ‘personal convictions won’t get in the way of his politics’ and that ‘everything is on the table’ or the chopping block. When did Mallot ever use his voice to decry sexual abuse and rape so rampant in the villages and accepted as “cultural?” When did Mallot ever try to educate tribal leaders and community members about the evils of rape and domestic violence? Us first? You’ve got to be joking!

    I find it interesting that the price of oil plummeted on the eve of Walker’s swearing in. Now, he really has to have a plan. He will have his hands tied. This may be a good thing. While I want him to succeed so that we succeed, I am anxious for his true colors to come out and for the buyers’ remorse to set in so Alaskans don’t make this mistake again.

  12. Anonymous on the Hillside

    Congratulations to Bill Walker and Byron Mallott. Not be too cynical, or in anyway disrespectful, I thought that Mallott’s costume was a bit out of place. I recognize people’s pride of heritage; however, he doesn’t dress like this when he goes to Alaska Airline board meetings, or when he headed up the Permanent Fund and I’ve seen him in DC and there was no costume. It was an inauguration, not a costume ball or Halloween. Just seemed a bit much. Will Dan Sullivan wear his Marine dress blues for his swearing-in?

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