From the Portland Tribune:
Commissioner Nick Fish said he was surprised by how quickly the economy had deteriorated.
“When I ran for office, the discussions were about how we were going to divide the surplus,” said Fish. “A year later we’re looking at budget cuts and there are no good answers.”
Compare this attitude from Portland's liberal Democrat leadership with what has happened in Alaska. While Commissioner Fish and his colleagues were thinking about spending the Portland surplus, Governor Sarah Palin was socking away billions of Alaska's surplus. Consequently, Alaska now has $6.6 billion in savings--equivalent to half Alaska's yearly budget needs.
In my previous post I noted that even though Oregon has five times as many people as Alaska and a state budget four times larger, Oregon's state savings are equal to less than 2% of Oregon's annual budget needs. In contrast, under Palin's short two year tenure as governor Alaska's savings have grown to equal more than 50% of Alaska's annual budget--from $2.3 billion in 2007 to $6.6 billion in 2009.
Run-of-the-mill government leaders, like Portland's and Oregon's, dream of spending surpluses. Exceptionally wise government leaders, like Palin, save surplus monies for times of need--whether it be a recession, depression or other major need that unexpectedly appears.
Elections have consequences, and Portland and Oregon now face life in toughening times with leaders not smart enough to have put aside significant savings when times were good. Instead they were dreaming of how to spend the surplus.