Fun Star: Making Cents: Students offer budget solutions to struggling legislature

This article is a work of satire, so unbunch your panties, please.

Mathew Carrick / Columnist

It’s no secret that Alaska is facing some harsh times financially. From discussions of drastic spending cuts to proposed tax expansions, Alaska officials are looking high and low for ways to bridge the multibillion dollar deficit. Luckily, they have a resource in one population that’s famous for its ability to thrive on a tight budget: college students.

Although UAF is facing budget cuts itself, state leaders are finding that Nanooks are no strangers to creative budgeting. During a recent visit to campus, legislators asked students for solutions to the fiscal crisis. Applying their UAF-trained critical thinking skills, students came up with several possibilities that are sure to be tried soon.

“When I’m a little short on cash and I want a soda or something, I start looking around for change,” Penny Fischer, freshman biology student, said. She even offered special tips on where coins are most often dropped: fast food restaurant windows and underneath grocery store shelves.

Soon after hearing Fischer’s advice, legislators were reported snooping around underneath the Taco Bell service window and trying to pry half-frozen quarters out of the melting ice. Fortunately, the legislature has already demonstrated an ability to find “couch cushion money” that could be useful in this venture!

Another student interviewed in the Gruening Building said that he fixed his spending problem by controlling his consumption of lattes from Arctic Java.

“Sometimes it’s a gamble whether I’ll be awake enough for class, but it’s worth the savings,” the student said. Our contacts in the legislature declined to comment on whether lawmakers will be giving up their over $220-a-day per diem, but they sure must need a lot of lattes to stay energized in the Capitol.

Even former students weighed in. A scruffy, library card-wielding man approached investigators yesterday to share his secret to reducing costs: replace classes and professors with books.

“I used to be a pay thousands to study philosophy, but I found the classes too expensive to keep up with,” he related. “Now I just spend my time in the library reading. I get the same knowledge, but it’s cheaper.”

When asked how he could afford that lifestyle without scholarships, he reported that he made quite the living as a bridge troll, charging tolls from bridge-crossing pedestrians who failed to answer his philosophy-inspired riddles. Several university administrators were seen nodding their heads and writing detailed notes during the interaction.

Throughout the campus visit, students continually offered helpful suggestions to budget planners, including selling blood plasma, listing Capitol furniture on Craigslist and knitting hats for Etsy stores.

“I find I have a lot of free time to practice my needlework during class lectures,” said Benjamin Craig, who went on to suggest that mandatory knitting and crocheting during legislative committee meetings could yield significant profits. Another student reported that he hoped to pay off his student loans during an upcoming visit to some Las Vegas casinos, and he generously offered to take some legislators along with him.

As state leaders were preparing to head back to Juneau, a kind-hearted, wealthy senior offered to pay an above-market rate to rent the House floor for her graduation party. As of this writing, the offer is reportedly under consideration.

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