A group of young Alaskans wants lawmakers to stop putting off action to fix the state’s fiscal situation. For the past three months, members of the group called Our Alaska have been traveling around the state to educate Alaskans about the issue.
“This is the most boring topic you could ever try to educate an audience on — state finances,” admitted Ian Laing, a member of Our Alaska.
It’s a complicated subject, so Laing is using a game to help people understand what’s at stake.
“Every block you move — you take away from the dividend — has an effect on people,” he explained, pointing out how the game corresponds with what the Legislature is dealing with. “Ultimately people walk away from it with a better understanding, for the challenge and hopefully a little more sympathy for what legislators have to do, what they have to work with.”
Laing said with the state $4 billion in the hole, lawmakers have some tough choices to make. He said his group is worried because legislators haven’t done anything about it.
“The frustration is still what it was at the the beginning, in a sense that there is a lot of concern about the issue as a whole, but people don’t really understand how to fix it,” he said.
The group is using social media platforms, like Facebook, to get the message out to other young Alaskans. The goal is to get more people involved in the conversation, to ultimately put pressure on lawmakers to take action.
For now, he said they’ll keep spinning the game wheel because the game is far from over.
“That’s really the core concern is just giving people some certainty around what’s going to happen, that’s all,” Laing said.