The politicians continue their headlong pursuit of personal self-interest while the citizens continue to keep their heads buried in the sand. I refer to the latest budget. The line separating Republicans and Democrats has never been more blurred. It is the goal of the majority of these politicians to wipe out the Permanent Fund Dividend and increase our taxes -- which would be obvious to anyone whose head is uncovered.
As a retired equipment operator of the state's Department of Transportation, I know first-hand what happens when the budget is reduced. The crew doing the work gets cut while administrative staff grows. Why does this occur? Two possible reasons: either the Legislature does not have a clue what the individual departments do with their funding, or they know exactly what is happening and, in fact, encourage it. I believe it to be the latter.
Every year we are inundated with rhetoric on why the state needs to tap into the PFD or raise taxes in order to maintain services. Every year we the people tell them "no." So, in order to get their way, they cut the essential services which we all require while leaving intact those non-essential services which only benefit a few. It is their hope, by doing this, that we the people will complain so loudly about closed parks and unsafe driving conditions that they will then have a green light to raid the PFD and increase our taxes.
Why would this be their intent? Because, for a weak-kneed politician whose main interest is getting re-elected, more money is the answer. Our politicians are fully aware that the general public has tuned out of the elective process -- 14 percent in our last election. So, if he or she can keep the special-interest groups happy, continued sessions in Juneau is a shoo-in, and the job is much easier.
The Legislature blew it big time way back when the PFD was first created. Had a similar fund been created for the departments of transportation, education and public safety, we would not be in the dire straits we find our selves now. This, however, would only have served to make the politicians' job that much easier, and would have created a special-interest funding extravaganza.
I have no interest in losing one dime of my hard-earned income or my PFD to inadequate management or to special interest groups that do not represent the best interest of the state.
Drive with care.