(Select the image above to read the full press release)
I was both pleased and pleasantly surprised to read in the article above that four of my Republican colleagues have reversed their position and that my Republican colleagues in the minority are committed to prioritizing Alaska’s future over the status quo.
Alaska has been borrowing from the Constitutional Budget Reserve Account (CBR) for many years. Under state law, Alaska now owes more than $12 billion to the CBR. At our current rate of overspending, and continuing to borrow from it each year, it is a debt that may never be paid.
How nice would it be today, to have that $12 billion with which to weather the coronavirus storm Alaska is now sailing through?
Unfortunately, we spent it.
Unfortunately, even as the storm is upon us, the ship of state is now listing badly in the direction of continued overspending.
We can solve the problem by decisions like the one that Republican legislators just made. For several years, legislators have used the $1.5 billion reverse sweep vote as leverage in the seeming never-ending negotiations that always prioritize state spending over what is best for the people of Alaska.
I am encouraged to hear that my Republican colleagues have committed to taking the CBR bargaining chip off the table. It is a new day. We have fewer options today, but that’s what happens when you spend more than $10 billion in savings. Having fewer options can help us focus on what is truly important to Alaskans and Alaska’s future.