June 5, 2015
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Alaska is in serious budget trouble this year, thanks to the Republican majority legislature up there. It also looks as though much of the budget maneuvering is intended to bust public employee unions as an extra side benefit.

Thousands of state employees on Tuesday found notice in their mailboxes that their job is in jeopardy because lawmakers continue to fight over the details of the state's operating budget.

This is what the Alaska Republican who handles their Twitter account decided to do in the middle of a huge battle over the state budget and impending layoff of 10,000 workers.

While the 90-day lawmaking session ended April 19 and a second special session is weeks old, distance remains between legislative Democrats and Republicans on what should make it into a budget that will be funded largely by cash reserves.

A shutdown will begin July 1, the start of the fiscal year, if no deal is reached.

"This action is no reflection on your service and is being taken solely due to the status of the fiscal year 2016 budget," wrote Sheldon Fisher, commissioner of the Administration Department.

The effects of a shutdown would be twofold: shuttering government services that impact many aspects of life for Alaskans, and delaying payment of salaries and benefits to thousands of state workers caught in the middle of the budget fight.

I'm sure it's no accident that the pawns in this little Republican game are union workers.

Alaska State Employees Association president Jim Duncan said many of the union's 8,500 members live paycheck to paycheck and will be unable to afford bills without income.

They had a deal, and then they didn't, because Liberty University graduate Bill Pete Kelly blew up the compromise, as Republicans are wont to do.

What was heralded as a compromise that could end the well-into-overtime session was rejected by the Senate, which has largely avoided any substantive negotiations with the House.

Instead, the Senate Finance Committee, co-chaired by Fairbanks Republican Sen. Pete Kelly, stripped out all the concessions made in the House and made the education funding a one-time grant. The Senate passed the stripped-down budget along caucus lines Monday night, sending the budget to a conference committee to hash out the differences.

The move essentially puts all elements of the negotiated compromise on the table to be renegotiated between the Senate and House.

After the energy put into reaching the compromise in the House, it's likely that reductions pushed by the Senate could jeopardize House minority Democrats' support of the budget.

At any rate, you can imagine that this is a pretty emotional debate, inside legislative chambers and outside. Thursday evening it spilled onto social media, when the social media person handling the Alaska GOP Twitter account referred to those state workers as "carpetbaggers."

It went downhill from there. Whoever is handling their social media account should back away slowly from the computer screen and hand it off to someone with a little better vocabulary.

But wait, that person does know the meaning of "carpetbagger."

That is what the social media representative for the Alaska Republican Party thinks of state workers.

As if to confirm that opinion, said social media representative then went off on state workers on Twitter!

This was a reply to someone who just received their layoff notice:

This is actually what these Republicans think of those workers, too. It's all a big exercise in union-busting, as you can see from this tweet from the Alaska Senate account.

Poor Alaska. I thought maybe when Sarah Palin resigned they might have a chance, but it looks like they've gone all out for Koch instead.

[h/t cbn2 on Twitter]

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