Dunleavy/Koch flimflam doesn't belong in Alaska's Constitution

The audience question was directed to Alaska’s attorney general, but he bowed to a higher authority.

“As far as the taxpayer bill of rights, I think that might be a question better answered by the gentleman from Colorado,” Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said during the Dunleavy/Koch Network road show in Anchorage.

The gentleman from Colorado was political consultant Jeff Crank of the Koch Network, who appeared on stage with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Clarkson and other state employees to promote a narrow ideology for Alaska.

“The question is do you want to rule over yourselves or do you want politicians just to rule over you to make all the decisions for you,” said Crank, a radio talk show host who founded a political consulting firm, Aegis Strategic, in 2013.

In 1992, Colorado voters approved the so-called taxpayer bill of rights, a constitutional amendment requiring voter approval of new taxes or tax increases. Dunleavy wants to replicate this in Alaska with two proposed amendments aimed at shrinking government services and preventing new taxes.

The Dunleavuy/Koch flimflam is that the amendments would not reduce tax revenue because new investors would flock to Alaska as soon as government services are gutted, the economy would grow and everything would be great.

“You’re going to see investment flowing into Alaska like you’ve never seen before,” Dunleavy says.

Colorado is not “getting more revenue through more taxation.They’re getting more revenue because more companies are coming there and employing people and growing the economy,” he says.

Crank said that since the early 1990s the standard of living in Colorado has increased by 30 percent, the population has increased from 5 million to 7 million and the economy is one of the hottest in the nation. Why?

“It’s because we created a climate where people want to move. Businesses want to move to states that are responsible in their taxation rates and reasonable,” said Crank.

It’s not the level of state taxation that determines whether a state flourishes or not. The Colorado climate, the mountains, the cities and the culture have a lot to do with whether people want to live there. Public services are important, as is transportation and geography.

According to the Dunleavy/Koch ideology, the state that has had the lowest taxes in the nation for decades should have long ago been overrun with new businesses. Investors fleeing high-tax states should have been handing out cash on the streets of Anchorage and starting new companies simply to take advantage of the best tax climate in the country.

But the lowest taxes in the nation aren’t enough to overcome the complex conditions and high costs that inhibit the growth of new business in Alaska.

The Colorado solution. by the way, is also under question in Colorado. Voters are to decide this fall whether more money should be spent on key state services. Over the years, most of the money for state services in Colorado, now nearly $18 billion, has been redefined as “enterprise,” while $11 billion is subject to the limit, the Denver Post reported.

The proposed Alaska spending limit would no doubt lead to the same kind of games, but it would also probably require reductions in public services in the years ahead and allow for no real capital budget. It would limit increases to half of the growth in population and inflation to a maximum of 2 percent. The more that the population grows, the greater the cutbacks in state services. The more than inflation increases, the greater the cutbacks in state services.

This is all because the governor says people need to trust him when he says that other politicians who will come after him are not to be trusted to make tax and budget decisions or defend them to Alaskans.

Beware of anyone pushing miracles and magic beans. File this one with the Dunleavy pledge that a 12-week training course is all anyone needs to start making $75,000 a year doing computer coding anywhere in Alaska. Or that the state should recruit “distressed gun manufacturers” and create new jobs that will last for generations.

One of the strengths of the Alaska Constitution is that a constitutional amendment cannot be placed on the ballot unless two-thirds of the Legislature agrees that the idea has merit. We can only hope that a majority of legislators will have the fortitude to resist the Dunleavuy/Koch flimflam and reject these amendments, House Joint resolutions 5 and 7.


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