AK Capital Budget & Non-Mission Critical Items

Look at this if you want to see excessive spending (some pork). Think of this in terms of your PFD and value the items at $1,000--last year's PFD.

The Alaska Policy Forum has been a very active partner with many others in holding the State Of Alaska accountable for wasteful spending.  This partnership, Mission Critical Alaska, has evaluated every department in the state government and identified the mission critical spending and non-mission critical spending in these departments.  By mission critical, we mean that spending that is defined in the Alaska Constitution and various statutes.

Now we have evaluated the state’s capital budget, SB23, with the same mission critical lens.  Here is a short list of those items which should be deleted from the capital budget because they are NOT mission critical.  These are “wants” not “needs”.  For example, in the below list there is $75,000 budgeted for the Whale Pass Organizational Grant.  Whale Pass only has 85 people.  What is the purpose of this grant? Pork?

The $200,000 budgeted for Anchorage police patrol of the Seward Highway fm Anchorage to Indian should be paid for by Anchorage.  The AHFC Cold Climate Housing Research Center is budgeted at $1,000,000.  These are lean times and this is not a mission critical item.  There is $10,386,000 budget for Governor Walker’s Alaska Gasline Development Corporation.  Is this really vital at this time? Would any legislator fund this project with his/her own money? That would be the true test.

One final item which should really irritate Alaskans whose PFD was cut by more than half is the $6,000,000 earmarked for Department Health & Social Services “Performance Bonuses”.  What for?

We have a real problem with the “intent language” for replacement of the Tustemena ferry (item 8 below)  which specifies that the commissioner can use a non-compete process if it is “in the best interests of the state”.  We are talking about a total of $244,000,000–$22,000,000 of which is state funds.

So here is our list of those NON-MISSION Critical items which should be cut from the capital budget. And these dollar amounts are Unrestricted General Funds except for the AK Gasline Development Corp:

Page/line             Item                                                              UGF Amount

  1. 2/10      AK Land Mobile Radio System                                    $1,534,600
  2. 2/22      Bulk Fuel Upgrades                                                       $2,420,000
  3. 3/8        AK Travel Industry Association                                  $3,000,000
  4. 3/30     Anchorage Police-Seward Hiway                                 $200,000
  5. 5/14      Elec Health Info Exchange                                           $762,855
  6. 7/4        AHFC Cold Climate Res Ctr                                          $1,000,000
  7. 8/18     Muni Harbor Grant Fund                                              $5,000,000
  8. 7/28-8/7 Non-Compete Language                                           $22,000,000
  9. 9/21 UA  Deferred Maintenance                                               $5,000,000
  10. 15/10 Whale Pass Org Grant(85 people)                                 $75,000
  11. 50/1   Public broadcasting                                                         $3,496,100
  12. 50/13 AK Gasline Devlpt Corp                                                 $10,386,000 (Other)
  13. 53/1  AK Seafood Marketing Inst                                             $1,000,000
  14. 57/29 AK Council on the Arts                                                    $2,768,500
  15. 58/19 AK Performance Scholarship                                         $11,750,000
  16. 64/20 PFD Hold Harmless Provision                                       $17,724,700
  17. 66/1 DHSS Performance Bonuses                                            $6,000,000
  18. 68/11 AK Safety Advisory Council                                           $160,800

If you want to see lots more pork and excess spending from years of freewheeling spending look at this Pork Book.

Remember, the legislature and governor have made our piggy banks smaller through theft of the PFD. Now state government needs to reduce the size of its piggy bank.