Coping with the Voodoo Doo-doo


WC has argued that former Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell’s effort with SB 21 was an Alaska twist on Governor Sam Brownback’s voodoo economics in Kansas. Readers may recall that WC argued that Governor Brownback believed cutting taxes would magically make the Kansas economy grow. Captain Zero thought if you cut oil taxes, more oil would magically appear in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and Alaska’s economy would grow. Zombie Reaganomics, shuffling out of the grave, bits of rot and deceit in its trail.

Governor Brownback has been forced to recant. He’s been forced to admit that all drastic cuts to taxes do is lower state revenue, which causes financial crises. He’s even admitted he’s going to have to raise taxes. True, so far he proposes only to raise “sin taxes,” increasing the tax on tobacco products by 50% and nearly tripling the tax on alcohol. That qualifies as recanting, even if you are putting the best face on it. Independent studies show that Governor Brownback’s proposal isn’t going to plug the revenue leak. Because, as he has demonstrated in a particularly cruel economics experiment, voodoo economics is just voodoo.

Supply-side economics has also been disproven on a smaller scale in Colorado Springs. In that city, an ALEC-inspired tax repeal resulted in every third streetlight being turned off. Layoffs among firefighters and police proved catastrophic in a severe fire season two years later. Some 350 homes were destroyed when the understaffed fire department could not control a wildfire that moved into the city limits. The parks department removed trash cans, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter. Parks went unwatered and unmaintained. Budgets for tourism were cut, starting a cycle of further declines in tourism-related dollars. Reduced police patrols were replaced with “watchful cabbies.” Budgets since 2010 have put off maintenance, creating a future financial problem.

Colorado Springs is seeing an exodus of young professionals and a decline in tourism. It’s hard to parse the data: Colorado Springs’ extreme conservatism has discouraged some business entry and tourism may also have been impacted by flooding events in 2014. But by any estimate, Colorado Springs has dead parks, dead streetlights and a flat-lined economy. More proof that voodoo economics is just voodoo.

So why are we trying the same, multiply-failed experiment in Alaska?

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