Saturday, September 27, 2014

Maybe Governor Parnell doesn't understand ...

... what the real fiscal issue is in this election.  It's partly about his past record -- the four largest budgets and two largest budget deficits in Alaska's history.

But that really is only the prologue to the real question -- what is each candidate's plan going forward for dealing with a situation that the University of Alaska-Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), the state's best economic think tank, calls an approaching "fiscal crisis" and "economic crash" which, if not headed off, will result in the "institution of broad based [income, sales or both] taxes, and use of a portion of the earnings of the Permanent Fund,” just to maintain minimum levels of government services.

The reason the thought the current Governor doesn't understand the real issue crosses my mind is because of a brief Twitter "skirmish" that broke out this afternoon after I published a blog piece discussing a recent statement by Bill Walker that he will "[put] in place a sustainable budget" if elected.  As I discuss in detail in the piece, a sustainable budget is something the state should have -- and some promised to -- put in place two years ago before the legislature enacted and the Governor signed back-to-back the two largest budget deficits in state history.  If they had, the state wouldn't be facing as severe a problem as it is now.

But they didn't and Walker (as well as two of the other candidates for Governor, Alaska Libertarian Party candidate Care Clift and Alaska Constitution Party candidate J.R. Myers) recognize that, as it was two years ago, a sustainable budget remains the best option now -- especially when compared with an income tax and reduced PFD as alternatives.

After publishing the piece, someone with the Twitter handle @AKpolitico -- I don't know the person's real name and he or she doesn't disclose it on their Twitter page, but who from past tweets clearly supports and may be part of the Parnell campaign -- decided to play cute and attempt to score political points off my commentary.  The problem, however, is that they didn't come to the effort with any notion of what Parnell's going forward plan is for dealing with what ISER terms the coming "fiscal crisis" and "economic crash."  All they wanted to do was try to pick on Walker's.  I've played enough poker to know that you don't start the game until all sides have anted up.

As I have thought about it since and gone back to read some of @AKpolitico's prior posts I have come to the conclusion that maybe @AKpolitico is part of the Parnell campaign and maybe they couldn't engage because Parnell doesn't understand what the real fiscal issue is.  Now that is downright scary.

In any event, here is a replay of the "skirmish."  I will leave it to each of you to draw your own conclusions.  Mine are those above.