Reality Check: Alaskans ignore the economic tsunami at their peril
Tuesday morning’s earthquake caught all of us by surprise. What wasn’t surprising was the way Alaskans-- especially those in tsunami-prone communities-- handled the emergency. They pulled together and got most everyone to higher ground.
We Alaskans are pretty good at handling natural disasters. Which is why it’s so amazing to me at how poor we are at handling the financial ones. We’re now in year three of our recession.
This slow-moving tsunami started with the crash in oil prices and has slowly swallowed $14 billion of our savings while we watched.
We’ve been idle, we’ve lost 10,000 jobs in the last two years and now have the highest unemployment rate in the country. We've done nothing while our population shrinks for the first time in three decades.
Sam’s Club and Sears no longer see a future here. And a Dave and Busters is hardly going to make up the difference.
And now, the water is at our door.
This week, Anchorage homeowners are getting their property value assessments from the muni. And what should come as no surprise, property values are now declining, much like the vacancy rates for office space.
We’ve owned our home for more than 25 years. And it’s now lost 5.5 percent of its value in just the past two years.
Our discourse over state finances has largely been limited to whining over the size of our dividend and the tantrums we throw when asked to even consider an income tax.
The fact is we’ve lost more value in our home over the past two years than we would ever pay in an income tax. And maybe you have, too.
In Juneau, the Senate Majority proudly says they are the only ones standing between Alaskans and a tax. They say they expect our economic tsunami to crest in 2023 or '24, though, who knows how they came up with that.
But it means they’re willing to continue deficit spending for five or six more years while the tsunami claims more homes and businesses.
Only a balanced budget that doesn’t rely on oil prices will protect your job and your investments.
But, as long as lawmakers continue to cater to Alaskans who still want everything for nothing, the water’s going to keep rising.
And though you may not even realize it, your feet are already getting wet.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.
John's opinions are his own and are not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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