What others say: Moving forward

  • Tuesday, November 22, 2016 7:50pm
  • Opinion

Alaskans dealt with it.

That’s what was to be expected, particularly given the majority are adults.

We know when money is available, we have the option of spending it. When it isn’t, that’s when we refrain.

With Alaska’s multi-billion-dollar deficit, Gov. Bill Walker vetoed from the state operating budget half of each eligible Alaskan’s permanent fund dividend payout or a total of $600 million this year.

Walker didn’t want to; as he has said, it was a very difficult decision.

Alaskans didn’t want him to, either, but, like the governor, we — most of us — recognized the situation and accepted it. After all, while more than $2,000 would have been nice, a little over $1,000 is nothing to diss.

State Sen. Bill Wielechowski thought differently. He challenged Walker’s decision in court, arguing it violated Alaska’s constitution.

Last week Anchorage Superior Court Judge William Morse ruled in favor of the governor. Of course, Wielechowski will take the case all the way to the state Supreme Court.

It is evident in the constitution that a governor has extraordinary power in terms of line-item vetoes from the operating budget.

That power applies particularly when the state is in difficult economic times.

“And we’re in crunch time,” the judge noted.

Judge Morse sees it. The Supreme Court will rule similarly.

This challenge is a waste of time and money, money that the state should have been able to save and apply toward its deficit.

The state dispersed dividends in early October. Alaskans accepted the payments and moved on to the general election. We now have our sights focused on the legislative session, where it is strongly desired that the lawmakers effectively address the deficit.

Then the governor won’t be alone and be placed in a similar position to that of this year with the permanent fund.

— Ketchikan Daily News.

Nov. 19

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