Begich a fiscal whiz; yeah, right
It is hard not to laugh when you hear former Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich’s contention that he left the city of Anchorage in great financial shape when the Justice Department’s crooked investigation of Sen. Ted Stevens handed him Stevens’ Senate seat.
He has an ad out now touting his fiscal prowess as mayor of Anchorage and blaming the ensuing mess he made – does this sound like “Bush did it” to anybody but us? – on his predecessor, former Mayor George Wuerch. He says Wuerch left him with a $33 million deficit, which he neatly cleaned up.
Good grief. That’s right out the Democrats’ playbook. First a Democrat will propose spending $1 billion on something, then cooler Republican heads will prevail and then the Democrat claims Republicans caused a “deficit.” Yes, there is a deficit – in wanted, wasteful spending, not the actual budget.
Wuerch told the Republican Party: “Mark Begich’s new ad claiming that he ‘inherited’ a $33 million deficit from my administration is a complete fabrication. At the end of June when I left office and Mayor Begich assumed the Mayorship, only 50 percent of the budget had been spent. All departments were adequately funded for the final six months of the year. Begich is claiming a deficit based on his ‘desired’ spending – not what was actually necessary. Begich’s fuzzy accounting is fundamentally dishonest and a disservice to the people of Anchorage.”
Former Anchorage Assembly member Chris Birch sees it the same way: “Mark Begich’s new attempts to hide the fact that he left Anchorage in financial shambles are an absolute disgrace. Begich preaches fiscal responsibility, but deliberately hid the fact that revenues were coming in significantly under budget in 2008 and left our city with a staggering $17 million shortfall.
Then there is Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston: “Mark Begich’s new ad rewriting the record on his tenure as Mayor of Anchorage is flat out dishonest. I was chided during the 2008 budget debate for raising alarms about Anchorage’s fiscal state, but by the time Begich left office in early 2009 our city was in a $17 million deficit. Begich was not honest with the City Assembly then, and he is not being honest with the people of Anchorage now.”
The truth is, Begich’s eyes were bigger than taxpayers’ wallets. He increased spending each and every year, to the tune of $130 annually. He moved money from municipal accounts to pay for his spending habit and jacked up fees, fines and found endless ways to dodge the property tax cap.
Then, to top it off, he hammered out fat, unprecedented, five-year labor contracts with the city’s unions and he and his leftist pals on the Assembly left the city holding the bag.
After listening to Begich spin, and watching the media rush to ensure his bogus message gets out, we are reminded that someone once told us it is always surprising that Democrats bother to buy mirrors. How could they possibly face themselves in one?