Spending Within Our Means

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While it is not unusual for political adversaries to call each other Chicken Little, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s opponents calling his budget “a manufactured crisis” should be forced to eat crow. After all, let’s not forget that former Gov. Bill Walker referred to the state deficit as “the gravest fiscal crisis in history.”

While Gov. Walker is now best remembered for the sex harassment scandal surrounding his running mate, Gov. Dunleavy will be remembered for honestly tackling Alaska’s gross deficit-spending. Gov. Dunleavy is not shying away from making hard, unpopular decisions, which require sacrifices from all Alaskans. Correspondingly, he is being criticized as “anti-worker” and “anti-Alaskan” and his budget as “a disaster for Alaska.” But is that fair criticism? I do not think it is.

Gov. Walker was praised for taking a “holistic approach” to budgeting, mainly through the capping of permanent fund dividend payments, the institution of new taxes, and accepting the Democrats’ $200 million increases to government spending. By contrast, Gov. Dunleavy’s proposed budget attempts serious reforms to government spending. What he calls “honest budgeting” is largely based on the simple concept of spending within our means.

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