WHITEBOARD DETAILS FAILURES
Bill Walker is learning that governing is different than campaigning.
But Governor Walker is a slow learner.
Candidate Walker promised to cut government spending by 16 percent. He was emphatic.
Governor Walker has proposed nine new taxes as "non negotiable."
Candidate Walker said he would be a nonpartisan governor.
Governor Walker gave Democrats everything they wanted. Republicans agreed to the budget after paying the ransom.
Last week Walker was so frustrated with the learning process that he would not even meet with Senate President Kevin Meyer or House Speaker Mike Chenault. This is not a governor committed to bipartisanship. He's all in with growing government.
Walker's frustration spilled over when he held a June 1 press conference, where he stood next to a white board that detailed his ineffectiveness:
400+ meetings with legislators
120+ legislative hearings
65+ town hall meetings with Alaskans
It was a whiteboard of shame: His efforts to rationalize big government, and yet Alaskans have not been convinced. Their duly elected legislators know that.
At this point, even Democrats have figured out that income taxes are a nonstarter.
Walker went on to accuse legislators of shirking their responsibilities, as if they had not been in those same 400 meetings with him and not been in those 65 legislative hearings that stretched late into the night.
The governor is frustrated because legislators did not sign off on his tax plan to skim off money from everything from cigarettes to fish. And by passing the budget, legislators essentially took away his bargaining chip for that tax surge.
The governor could have used his press conference to announce that he would review the budget they sent to him, and that he was likely to provide a number of vetoes. He did no such thing.
Here's the question for the governor: Now that the Legislature has passed the budget, no pink slips need to be issued for state workers, right?
However, if he intends to reject the budget or has no intention on signing it until he gets his pound of flesh from taxpayers, is he not morally obligated to give those pink slips out today so that workers know on July 1 he is going to let them all go?
It is not a rhetorical question because he and he alone now holds their futures in his hands. Yes, he will have to sign off on the budget or he will have to assume responsibility for layoffs. Since we know he won't assume that responsibility, he may as well be heroic and make some significant cuts before applying his signature.
Complaining to the public about their lawmakers is taking an easy route, since at any given point in time, the public is disenchanted with legislatures and congresses. But that can only go on for so long before he makes himself look whiney and limp.
It's time Governor Walker pulls up his big-boy pants and brings down government spending.