A law suit has just been filed which aims to block the Anchorage Spending Cap Petition Drive. Who would try to subvert the voice of We The People?
Three individuals have filed a lawsuit to block the citizens’ petition drive that would bring back the Anchorage Municipal Spending Cap and put it in the charter. The three plaintiffs in the case are a community member who has unsuccessfully tried to run for the state legislature as a Democrat, an Anchorage police officer, and a well known liberal community activist.
We don’t believe the lawsuit will get very far. The primary basis of the lawsuit is that the initiative process can’t be used to appropriate funds. However, this ballot initiative does not make or repeal any appropriations. In fact, it only reactivates and clarifies an existing law that limits overall spending.
Background: This year’s budget proposal from the Berkowitz Administration was $9 million over the municipal Spending Cap. Instead of complying with that ordinance and reducing spending, the Assembly instead quickly passed an ordinance to suspend the Spending Cap for two years. As a result, a process was begun by individual citizens to bring the Spending Cap back by putting it on the April 2017 municipal ballot.
The Spending Cap is not something new. It was created in 1983 in a very bipartisan effort under the administration of Democrat Mayor Tony Knowles. This ballot initiative will bring back the Spending Cap, with improved language that closes many loopholes that have caused it to be less effective than it was originally intended. The improved Spending Cap will be moved from city code into the municipal charter so that it can’t be suspended or changed by the Assembly again without a vote of the people.
Under the improved Spending Cap, taxpayers will have more protection yet city services and city worker wages will still be allowed to grow along with the rate of inflation and population growth. If the city finds the improved Spending Cap too constraining, it can always make a case to the voters to exceed the Spending Cap — through the ballot.
The old Spending Cap language allowed large loopholes. The original intent of Mayor Knowles’ Spending Cap was to limit per person spending roughly to the rate of inflation. But because of the loopholes, under Mayor Begich, per person spending increased 52% while inflation was only 15%. That was clearly a major violation of the intent of the Spending Cap. The improved Spending Cap language will limit ALL city spending growth to population and inflation changes with a few specific common sense exceptions like, emergency expenditures, judgment settlements, and voter approved bond debt.
Bottom line: This initiative will not reduce the current budget city budget; it will just limit future budget growth to the rate of inflation and population growth– unless the voters approve more. The fact that three people with a clear motivation to see government grow much faster than inflation have sued to block this ballot initiative, is a strong indication that initiative is worthy of strong taxpayer support.
You can follow the progress of the initiative on this Facebook page: ” Bring Back the Spending Cap”
If you’d like to sign the petition, you can find it at the following locations:
Mikes Quality Meats– Eagle River
Boondocks Sporting Goods– Eagle River
Gun Runners– 601 E Northern Lights Blvd (across from Sears Mall)
907 Surplus — Boniface Parkway
Dental office of Dr Jason Ramptom — Eagle River
Remember, this is about We The People–get involved or lose out.