Letters to the Editor

Letter: Budget and PFD solutions

I’ve watched and read about Alaska’s financial woes for years and witnessed the constant bickering in Juneau of our so-called leaders. I have heard the hundreds of thousands of “cures” to the state’s economic situation. I would like to present a few new twists to the problems.

First of all, Gov. Mike Dunleavy got elected with no real platform other than the full Permanent Fund dividend. He has a long list of failures as a leader, representative or problem-solver. He hired a so-called expert in financial matters from out-of-state at a ridiculous salary, and recently added Ben “Mr. Valley Trash” Stevens, a known shady character, at another ridiculous salary. And still no solutions to the financial condition of Alaska.

Folks, it is time to wake up. Dunleavy knows there will never be a full PFD again. He still plays on the sympathy of the thousands of Alaskans who would love to see that come true. But it is a thing of the past.

I offer this solution to the PFD issue. The money the state collects from oil and from the Permanent Fund itself varies from year to year. Last year, roughly 631,000 applicants received $1606.00, for a total of slightly more than $1 billion. The balance of the money was made available for operating budget spending. As I previously said, “there ain’t gonna be a full PFD again.” I suggest that the Legislature do the following. First, every year, take a set amount (X) from the PFD earnings and royalties, and use the balance (Y) to do the state’s business. Each year, the set amount (X) would be a constant number, and the size of the PFD would vary, depending on the number of applicants. The balance (Y) would be a variable amount, and it would be up to the Legislature to determine how to divide it for the budget.

To supplement the state’s income, I suggest one of two things. Either we convince states in the Lower 48 to give us a waiver on paying their sales taxes when we visit them, or implement a state sales tax here. The argument that it would drive businesses away does not hold water, as the sales tax in other states has never deterred Alaskans from spending ridiculous amounts in their states.

— Darwin Fischer


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