Missing in the town hall presentations by the director from governor’s office and our local legislator was equal time for alternative ways to match programs with revenues. Many economic experts oppose the idea of taking PFDs as bad for the economy. The first dividend was $1,000. This year that has the purchasing power which $400 did in 1982. This month, the Permanent Fund Board has told Alaskans that the Fund will be reduced by half in 20 years because the legislature has stopped inflation proofing. The investment officials also said that the proposed POMV (percent of market value) would take too much and also cause the Fund to lose.
Last Thursday April 6, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, conducted a Town Hall in Homer leading a discussion on Alaska’s fiscal considerations, in which he defended oil industry credits and incentives. He said repeatedly that, from the North Slope to Cook Inlet, the industry was responding well and production was going up.
Skin in the game? I’ll say. Big oil is trying to skin us again. Our skin, their game, if they get their way. Their turn to pay. The worm has turned. Or have we?
The benefits of the Permanent Fund shared equally have had a very positive effect. Because of the dividend program, income disparity in Alaska is the lowest of any state. It provides for many low-income and workingclass families. and we have achieved a higher degree of social justice because of it. It is projected to produce $4 billion annually in four years if we protect it.
Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott have begun forming our new government — like Abe Lincolns, and like the mugwumps who, down to the 20th century, fought corruption and robber baron control.
What’s a mugwump? Someone who is independent of party politics. The new Alaska Cabinet is being appointed without regard to party. Good luck getting our quite Republican Legislature to confirm them.
We now face a great civic task: deciding the referendum on whether to strike down Senate Bill 21, which slashes state revenues from the oil industry by about a billion dollars a year. Which side do you believe?
What Gov. Jay Hammond actually wrote may not be exactly what Sen. Peter Micciche remembered at his town meeting last Friday in Homer.
The senator said he agreed with Hammond that 66 percent of oil income belonged with government. Of course, with ACES, the escalator clause has raised the state take, reduced the industry percentage below one-third and had no affect on federal taxes. What big oil and the senator advocate is reducing the state share one or two billion a year.