Comment of the week: Will Keithley’s money make a difference?

From a comment by Lynn Willis, responding to Brad Keithley’s announcement that he will put $200,000 of his own money into going after state candidates who claim to be fiscally conservative when campaigning, but who aren’t so fiscally conservative when they’re in Juneau:

While I applaud Mr. Keithley’s efforts, I fear that without serious changes within the institution of the legislature picking off a few fiscal offenders will accomplish very little.

Governor Parnell, despite having the constitutional authority to do so, will do nothing. At best he will spin the numbers (as he did with the pension buy down) to create the best mirage of fiscal management he can.

Here is what will happen regardless of who is in Juneau. The majority caucus will first meet in secret (because they have exempted themselves from state open meeting law) where they will remind the members that any caucus member who fails to support the next budget will be kicked out of the caucus and banished to political irrelevancy. Next they will meet with constituents to complain about how they are running out of money but “formula spending” ties their hands and it is the fault of Alaskans that they have to spend so much. Then it’s off to remote Juneau where these committee chairs will, without explanation and against their own legislative rules, hold bills to death often in a trade for even more spending. Next, the Governor will sign yet another record breaking budget into law while the opiate of the PFD calms the masses and the march to the fiscal cliff will continue.


5 thoughts on “Comment of the week: Will Keithley’s money make a difference?

  1. The Zot

    “so far he has been the cleanest and ablest governor Alaska has ever had.”

    Wow…delusional much. Remember a guy name Jay Hammond?

  2. Garand Fellow

    First, Democrats always propose more spending, not less. I believe there will be real, measurable spending cuts beginning with the budget we see on or about December 15. The cuts will not be nearly as deep as what will be claimed after the 2015 session (or at the end of any session), and for the first few to several years the cuts will be general, across-the-board; those cuts are a fiction in that they allow elected and appointed officials to tell constituents that every program can continue despite spending reductions. Most state agencies have program receipts and non-GF sources, and they can revert to those to keep special assistants, spokespersons, and legislative liaisons. Most of those positions were invented during the Frank Murkowski administration by the way.

    Hopefully Governor Parnell will continue to pay down debt – pension debt and GF debt in particular. If debt has been paid to zero when the liquidity reaches zero that would be best of course. By then there will be no alternative to eliminating programs. Through this entire process Alaskans will be demanding increased spending for education, more capital projects, and continuing the PFD. We cannot blame the elected people because when we donate to their campaigns we also demand more spending. Given what a poor deal it is to be a legislator we all should be grateful for the people willing to run for that office. And as disappointed as I sometimes am with Governor Parnell, so far he has been the cleanest and ablest governor Alaska has ever had.

  3. Cean Stevens

    If we keep doing the same thing, we will continue to get the same results. I didn’t blindly pledge not to join a caucus if doing so forces me to vote for an increased budget. I knew the possible repercussions because I was repeatedly warned I was committing political suicide. I for one am choosing to have faith in the very people that I’m hoping will elect me to office. I’m choosing to believe that enough Alaskans are fed up with politicians who say one thing and then do the opposite once they go to Juneau.

  4. A.B. Normal

    Lynn–I hope your wrong about Keithley’s effort, Alaska needs more rational thinkers in the legislature, even if it’s only one or two new faces. Your forecast of the republican behavior is right on!
    It’s so ironic that the republican caucas and Govenor that recently admonished Congress for deficit spending are in fact responsible for the largest amounts of State deficit spending in the entire history of Alaska. Two billion for FY2014 and forecasted 1.5 billion for FY2015.
    Meanwhile, Parnell’s says with a straight Christian face, “Alaska has never been in better fiscal shape”.
    Parnell claims to read the bible every morning before he goes to work. Where is it found in the bible that it teaches one to use deceit, smoke and mirrors to hide financial facts from the public? The vast majority of voters don’t have time to vet the comments of elected officials. In my view he has violated the public trust by not speaking the truth to the people of Alaska.

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