Time is getting short in Juneau and surely tempers are getting just as short as the legislative session winds down (or up). We thought we would provide some food for thought (suggestions) to our legislators on where they could save the State some money and save us from taxes and PFD cuts.
Here is our short list:
- Cut the 1% For Art Program (how much has been spent on this since its inception, that would be a very interesting figure)
- Alaska has the Cadillac of Medicaid healthcare; we have 27 Optional Services, services that many with private health insurance do not have and even Medicare recipients do not have.
- Reduce the Power Cost Equalization program which has nearly $1 Billion in its cache.
- Furlough the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation; Alaska has spent $500 Million on this effort which has become corporate welfare with nothing to show.
- Reduce current school bond debt reimbursement for past projects.
- Reduce funding to AIDEA and Alaska Energy Authority.
- Stop the Alaska Performance Scholarship program which has more than $400 Million in its cache; an 18 year old should have more than $26,000 in PFD savings to pay for college by now.
- Eliminate the Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the Department of Commerce & Economic Development; any necessary functions could be transferred to other Departments.
- Reduce the “vacancy rate” for the entire State government; this will cut the number of funded/vacant positions which provides surplus funds to the Departments.
- Fund K12 schools directly, not school districts; this will ensure that the needed dollars actually go to the classroom where the real education occurs; it will also reduce the bloated bureaucracy in some of our school districts.
- Consolidate school districts in rural areas so overhead such as superintendents for small schools are a thing of the past.
- Consolidate all the IT and HR functions from within the Departments into Divisions within the Department of Administration; currently, many Departments have IT and HR functions even down to the Division level.
- Redo the K12 education Foundation Formula; eliminate the Hold Harmless” provision which guarantees funding of a school at the previous year’s level even though it loses student membership; eliminate the funding of schools based on the size (number of students).
Legislators, these are just some of suggested reductions that will not impact service to Alaskans. The time is now to get serious and throw politics to the wind. These suggested reductions are much better than either raising income taxes or cutting the PFD.