Concern over House Bill 115
The state of Alaska doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. That is why one of the most natutral and mineral rich states in the United States is having financial problems.
Oil revenue both past and present has been spent in ways that were short-sighted, unwise, wasteful and unsustainable.
Only about 10-15 percent of oil revenue was invested in the Permanent Fund and only because wise, far-sighted persons who wanted to represent the best interests of the people and Alaska, as a state, fought long and hard against those that were not like-minded and only passed the legislation creating the Permanent Fund after reducing the amount proposed from 50 percent to less than 15 percent and did so grudgingly.
Now these same like-minded types who fought against and reduced the Permanent Fund want to use the permanent fun and institute a state income tax that they ended against wise and now prophetic counsel by those who fought to make the Permanent Fund a reality — without addressing the real problem that got us here.
For these reasons it would be unwise to support the income tax or allow the Permanent Fund earnings to be used by these types to solve a probelm they created unless they acknowledge their wrong-doing and are willing to accept responsibility and accountability by doing the following. Otherwise, they are simply pushing the consequences of their actions onto the people.
1. Agree to penalize themselves by reducing their per diem a certain amount for each year served in the Legislature to be matched by new revenue increases at a certain ratio also to be determined. (Example: If a 10 percent per diem reduction per year in the Legislature were adopted at a 1 to 5 ratio and the per diem were reduced 100K, new revenue would be raised to 500K) from Permanent Fund earnings.
2. Cut administrative costs which have never been properly separated and accounted for from the cost of services in government and therefore have been hidden and have never felt the budgetary knife as services and capital improvements have. Again, at some ratio like in the above example.
3. Cut or reduce funding to departments and programs that don’t benefit the majority of the people and are not essential services. See above example.
4. At the time something like this is initiated at whatever the price a barrel of oil is at, will be set in law in an appropriate way that whenever the price of oil exceeds that set price all extra revenue the state receives will go into the Permanent Fund as principle to be invested and increase future dividend payouts.
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