Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Promise ... and the Reality ...

Yesterday I spent part of the morning reading my local candidate profiles as a way of preparing to vote -- I intend to take advantage of Alaska's partial move to electronic voting this year and had just completed my application. The website of one local candidate -- an incumbent R -- touts that he is a "fiscal conservative" and goes so far as to assert that "With [candidate's name] We Control State Spending."

That's the promise.

I must admit to starting off somewhat skeptical of the promise in any event.  Readers of these pages will know that the last two years the Alaska Legislature -- including the House, which clearly is controlled by R's claiming to be "fiscal conservatives" -- has passed the two largest budgets in Alaska history, both of which are well above sustainable levels and, indeed, are so large they now undermine the goal of oil tax reform.

Then, last evening, while catching up on the news from the day, I read an Alaska Dispatch story which crystallized the reality.  The story is about a new baseball field recently completed in Sitka.
“Frankly, it was a third-class baseball field,” said Sen. Bert Stedman of Sitka. “Some of us thought it was appalling.” 
So he stepped up the plate and hit a home run with the development of new Moller Field, the only all-turf field in Alaska
Stedman was the MVP of the multimillion-dollar project, identifying the need for a new turf field, driving home the point with other legislative leaders and securing the funding through the capital budget.
My local candidate voted for the capital budget.
  • "Fiscal conservative" ... 
  • "With [               ] We Control State Spending" ... 
  • "[M]ultimillion-dollar baseball field," "the only all-turf field in Alaska," paid for by tax dollars through the capital budget. 
It is clear that the slogan has just become words.  That's the reality.