Nervous nellies and Donna Arduin

Anybody could see it coming. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s new budget director has the usual suspects more than a little nervous and they are wringing their hands and questioning her budget-cutting ways and previous connections to the private prison industry.

Dunleavy brought Donna Arduin aboard to run the Office of Management and Budget and help with the state’s $1.6 billion operating budget gap. She has a long history of successful budget work under difficult circumstance in other states.

None of that is good for the big-government crowd. Democrats fret about her work history, her business connections and whether she is setting public policy by cutting the budget. They wonder whether lawmakers should be able to confirm her to the position as they do with other top jobs in governors’ administrations.

Their real fear, of course, is that she will do what she was hired to do: cut government to the bone, and that does not sit well.

After Dunleavy trimmed $20 million from the education budget last week, Sen. Donny Olson, D-Golovin, suggested in a news conference covered by the Juneau Empire that the cut likely was Arduin’s.

“I don’t necessarily blame the governor for doing that,” Olson said. “I think the OMB director’s the one with the hatchet out there. And it’s a hatchet, not a scalpel.”

With a $1.6 billion deficit, Alaska is far beyond the need for a budgetary scalpel. Dunleavy promised a balanced budget, and what is needed – and has been needed for umpteen years – is a fiscal hatchet to make spending come into line with revenue.

Despite lamentations from budgetary nervous Nellies, if that is what Arduin brings to the table, good for her.

5 Responses to Nervous nellies and Donna Arduin

  1. Rusty Lee February 6, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Bring on the hatchet. Or better yet, give her an axe. The special interests have been in the trough for far too long. So much so that our roads suck yet we have dumped billions into a pipeline to nowhere. Let all of the freeloaders pack their bags and three cheers for Governor Dunleavy!!!!!!!

  2. R-Dubya February 6, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Simply, cut 25% from every State of AK Departments (except DOT). Every one of these Departments have a manager, let them figure out how to ‘Do More with Less’ and readjust priorities, just like the rest of us. Let the wailing, crying, and Bally-Hooing commence as all of these theatrics and drama will eventually fade away.
    NOW, is the time to pull out the hatchet, make the necessary cuts, learn / adapt to live within reasonable and appropriate means, by ‘Right-Sizing’ the State Gov’t.
    If we don’t do this now …
    – When will we do it?
    – Will the situation be better next year?
    Once the Administration ‘Right-Sizes’ the SOA, the greatest focus this Administration should be zeroed in on is creating a business friendly environment, enticing greater resource development.
    NOW, is the time for decicive action!

  3. Morrigan February 6, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Maybe the Budget Director will require the Alaska Municipal League to return the group’s $602,098,138.29 “Investment Pool” of taxpayers’ money to the State Treasury. (
    Think about that: $1.6 billion minus $602,098,138.29
    If that is what Arduin brings to the table, good for us!

  4. Observer February 7, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    All of this sounds fun, and I strongly favor “right-sizing” State government. However the proposed cuts will have to from somewhere and I doubt that they will come from State Trooper (who incidentally provide about zero services to Anchorage residents), Corrections or highway maintenance. The cuts are unlikely to come in mental health (API), juvenile justice, prosecutors or the required defense counsel. Pioneer homes will be uncut. We could underfund contributions to state retirement systems, but the bid folks will be very unimpressed. We could cut some part of the $167 million for Permanent Fund Corporation operations. Will the Administration cut child support? How about the University of Alaska? I suppose.

    The point is that there are many sacred animals in the budget and I have not mentioned the largest holy trio of the Educational Foundation, Medicaid and… the Permanent Fund Dividend. Coming up with a billion in cuts will necessarily hit those three. How?

    With the Legislature in disarray, we are not getting any closer to intelligent decisions on the budget. We are getting closer to budgetary chaos that will hurt just about everyone and do permanent harm to the economy.

    I predict the OMB Director will not be living in Alaska twenty four months from now.

  5. Dave Allison February 13, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Based on her history, she will not last 24 months. She is consistently brought into Republican administrations to administer neoliberal gutting of human services and privatization of public assets and services. The public rejects the poison that she pours into their lives and she leaves promptly before the next election so that incumbents can claim that they were just following the guidance of the experts and are not to blame for the damage done, usually to the least powerful and least able to effectively complain or respond to the attacks on their lives.

    Of course she would never, as a card carrying libertarian economist, suggest that a state with widely variable natural resource income establish an income tax in order to stabilize the economy of the state.


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