In a recent mailer to Eagle River residents, Joe Hackenmueller, the “independent” who was registered as a Democrat in April, used a chart of spending from the Unrestricted General Fund to make a point that “We are spending about the same this year as we did ten years ago”.
The chart is misleading because it only shows state spending from one “funding source”, the Unrestricted General Fund (UGF). In FY17, the total Budget is $10.4 billion (Operating: $8.8 billion, Capital: $1.6 billion). The UGF source makes up only $4.2 billion of the $8.8 billion Total Operating Budget.
The deception in the Hackenmueller’s chart is that it is used to create a perception that significant cuts have been made, which leads to the argument that it’s time to tax Alaska’s and cap the permanent fund, both of which Hackenmueller is on record supporting in a March 2016 Legislative Finance Hearing1.
The more appropriate view of State government spending is the Operating Cost of State Agencies, which is the lion’s share of the Total Operating Budget ($8.3B of $8.8B total), shown at right. In the same 10 year period, State agency spending has increased by $3 billion dollars. Considering total Agency Operating Budgets, spending that will eat our savings every year, it’s a myth that significant cuts have been made.
Alaskan’s should not be fooled by these deceptive budget tactics that reference only one funding source. All government funds originate from the private sector. We must reduce the footprint of Big government, the real threat to Alaska’s savings. The quicker savings are depleted by Big government, the sooner they will look to the private sector for more revenue.