Shannyn Moore for the Anchorage Daily News
I’m still getting used to seeing the Walter J. Hickel Expressway signs. I still think Wally’s Way would have been better, but it gives me a chance to remember to read “Who Owns America” again. My copy has a brown signature inside. A treasure.
So, as I pull onto Wally’s Way, heading south, the voice of Lori Townsend making me feel better about the news on my radio. Seriously. If there’s a meteor bearing down on Earth and we’re all gonna die, she should be the one announcing it-she makes even Alaska news sound better.
My phone rings.
“Did you know about Cathy Giessel’s crazy payback bill?”
I’m sorry, bring me up to date, I can’t track all the crazy that woman has to give.
Just so you don’t feel like you’re eavesdropping, here’s the “crazy.” Sen. Giessel, locked in a tight race againstpopular former House Rep. Harry Crawford, is now doling out millions in state dollars for campaign contributors. Apparently the State of Alaska has an extra $1.9 million per year laying around to drop on for-profit DMV service providers — who already charge Alaskans a big fat fee for service. Apparently the “free market” doesn’t work for at least one of Giessel’s campaign contributors, and the state needs to subsidize her seemingly profitable business. Wait a second! I thought the government wasn’t supposed to “pick winners and losers,” Cath.
So, it’s $1.9 million. Here’s what Sen. Giessel said in some “Talking Points” about her bill, “This is not a giveaway, it is a reallocation of funds.” Exactly, a reallocation to a few rich businesspeople. Interestingly, Sen. Giessel thinks it’s OK to reallocate state funds to businesses, especially when they give her campaign contributions, but not to the poor, tired masses — since she voted against an amendment to cut DMV fees by 15 percent for all Alaskans.
Before we started giving $2 billion dollars of oil profit away for nothing every year I guess a million here and there wasn’t so noticeable.
Oh, but wait! The legislators who voted for this oil giveaway have suddenly noticed, (the shock!), that giving away billions and getting nothing in return leads to… wait for it… billions in deficits. Wow. It’s like a regular Mensa convention in Juneau.
You can’t make these people up. What’s the solution? Apparently $1.9 million is just enough to help out your friends in the private DMV business, but not good enough for a DMV fee cut for average Alaskans and $1.2 million is certainly way too much for getting doctors interested in coming to Alaska to care for our underserved.
I realize compromise is not a strong suit for most of our representatives, but here’s a thought. Why don’t the Neighborhood Health clinics also renew vehicle tags. Or maybe Cathy’s friend with the DMV shop can start swabbing for strep and can practice saying “turn your head and cough.”
Or we could vote for representatives that don’t seem to be so short-sighted.
Or Cathy can drop her silly anti-free-market bill and save us the $1.9 million to put towards student loan repayment for new Alaskan doctors.
Shannyn Moore is a radio host on 1480 AM in Washington, D.C., and on Netroots Radio.