I’ve noticed a terrible trend. Both local and state governments are addicted to federal money.
For the last five years, Juneau has been stealing the people’s PFD to pay “so called” bills. We need to come to grips that perhaps Fairbanks should start finding revenue or cutting spending instead of waiting for windfalls from the state or federal government.
I never got to answer why I wouldn’t sponsor or co-sponsor the resolution on asking for $10 million from Juneau when the infrastructure bill was passed. This is the very reason. Last week a few members of the council and the leader of the Polaris Working Group met with Sens. Sullivan and Murkowski to walk the Polaris Building. Why? To pressure them to vote for this so-called infrastructure bill that would get us possible money to tear it down ... Again, some of us are like heroin addicts when it comes to federal money. We don’t even see, or we don’t care, the damage this bill will do to all of us and the country.
We even had someone say, “These federal dollars are our only hope and chance to tear this building down ... ” without even entertaining ideas or collaborating with the private sector — spouting off $10 million as a cost every chance he gets, muddying the water with this $10 million price tag — setting in stone what the private sector will now consider probably its lowest bid. And this person is running for mayor! Always be cautious of anyone saying federal money is the only way. So now here we are — both of our senators have voted for this infrastructure bill, just seeing dollar signs. Like heroin addicts getting their next fix.
Ever wonder why Juneau can’t pay its bills? I wonder if it’s because the state takes so much federal money that when they put that money into programs, we then have to maintain those programs. It’s a vicious cycle, and we need to do away with it. We need to look out for our residents and our city with the money we bring in. It’s been said, “If we don’t ask for it, it won’t come to us, another city will get it,” and that may be true. But we will end up being less of a slave to the federal government than those other cities because that’s where we are right now.
It may very well get us money to tear that building down, but at what cost really? According to the Wall Street Journal, 23% of new spending in the bill is actual infrastructure dollars. Just where is the rest of the $1.2 trillion dollars going? Here are a few examples of what is actually inside the 2,700 page bill:
• Did you know it mandates a tax program to track how many miles you put on your private car?
• It also taxes and will pressure all crypto businesses out of the country.
• 810 million dollars, almost a billion dollars, to encourage people to recycle.
• Human infrastructure is a farce and equity of outcome is vile and divisive.
This bill is an inflation Trojan horse. I’m ashamed and disgusted that Sen. Sullivan voted for this. And Sen. Murkowski, well, I don’t think any of us knows who she represents.
Let’s get off this drug and start working on what this city can do without needing handouts. We might not even get the money for the teardown of the Polaris Building, but it’s absolutely not the last chance we have to get that thing down. It might not be as easy, but we can do it with our own money, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
This infrastructure bill will cost us dearly — milk, gas, you name it, will skyrocket.
Remember who pushed this and who voted for it when you’re buying these things in a year. Vote them out. We need people who aren’t concerned with what money we aren’t getting but more concerned with the money we have and can make together.
Jim Clark is a member of the Fairbanks City Council.