What others say: Buy Alaskan, buy local

State agencies and the University of Alaska spent $343 million outside of Alaska for goods and services for government operations in 2015.

Gov. Bill Walker points to that statistic to illustrate the impact out-of-state spending has on Alaska and its communities.

Studies cited by Walker show that 52 percent of every dollar spent locally recirculates in the communities’ economies. That means that had the agencies and university spent those dollars in Alaska, it would have generated another almost $175 million in spending here.

Instead it supported Washingtonians or people living in other states who provided the goods and services to Alaska. That’s unacceptable. Alaska should be supporting Alaska and Alaskans.

Gov. Walker is on it. He’s addressing state spending. It’s up to Alaskans to join him by looking at individual spending that supports the local economy.

Alaska has more than 69,000 small businesses. They provide jobs, which support both the private and public sector.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners truly embody the Alaskan spirit of independence and self-reliance,” Walker says.

“Whether it be creating more jobs or donating money to youth (sports), Alaska-owned businesses are at the heart of our communities and make our state thrive. When we buy in-state, those dollars continue to circulate in our economy. With Alaska’s current fiscal challenge, it is absolutely critical to support and encourage local economic development.”

In Ketchikan alone, businesses donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to support youth activities. They also support local nonprofits and strive to make goods and services easily accessible locally. These donations are made possible by local buying.

We help ourselves by buying local. We assist other economies by buying elsewhere.

We’re in a situation, with a $4 billion state budget deficit, that makes striving to buy local imperative to our well-being. If the state had recirculated about $175 million into the 2015 economy, the quality of Alaskans’ lives would be financially improved today. That amount compounded through the years adds up to billions of dollars.

If we, as individual Alaskans, do the same, the same effect will result. We support ourselves, providing jobs and making it possible for expanded and increased goods and services in the communities. We allow for more businesses, which, in turn, spend locally for basic necessities, such as the utilities to keep the lights on at the office.

Our future depends on our individual spending choices as much as our state government’s decisions in how to spend. Gov. Walker is encouraging us to decide in support of Alaska’s economy.

Walker has declared May as Buy Alaskan Month. By doing it, we participate in solving Alaska’s financial crisis.

—Ketchikan Daily News, May 25, 2016

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