Feature Alaska Article Archive
Spring 2000

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Phillips To Buy Arco's Alaskan Assets; FTC Suspends Suit Over BP Amoco Deal 
          
REPORT TO THE PEOPLE - SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS 

Government  as Lawbreaker -REP. VIC KOHRING

Protecting future of the Permanent Fund -SEN.  LYDA GREEN

AN ALASKAN CONSUMER'S VIEW - RAY METCALFE

What Part of “No” Don’t They Understand? 
-REPRESENTATIVES JOHN COGHILL, JERRY SANDERS, SCOTT OGAN AND VIC KOHRING Can the state borrow $25,000 from us? - DALE LUTHER
HB 411 - ALASKA LEGISLATURE ONLINE SJR 35 - ALASKA LEGISLATURE ONLINE HJR 50 - ALASKA LEGISLATURE ONLINE

Phillips To Buy Arco's Alaskan Assets; FTC Suspends Suit Over BP Amoco Deal

Updated 4:12 PM ET March 15, 2000

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Phillips Petroleum Co. late Wednesday confirmed it has agreed to buy all of Atlantic Richfield Co.'s Alaskan assets for $6.5 billion in cash in a deal it said would immediately boost its earnings. Earlier, the Federal Trade Commission suspended its antitrust lawsuit seeking to block BP Amoco PLC's acquisition of Atlantic Richfield, or Arco, citing progress in talks with the oil companies.

The FTC announcement came amid published reports that Arco (ARC) was near an agreement to sell its Alaskan crude-oil assets to Phillips (P) to ease approval of the deal, which would make London-based BP Amoco (BPA) the world's second-largest nongovernment oil concern behind Exxon Mobil Corp. (EXM)

Phillips hopes to close on Los Angeles-based Arco's assets in early April, and the purchase would be retroactive to Jan. 1. Phillips will also pay up to $500 million more based on a formula tied to the price of crude oil. If the deal does close next month, Phillips expects the transaction to add to its earnings and cash flow this year by $1.28 a share and $2.94 per share respectively. The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial was for 2000 earnings of $3.27 a share.

The purchase, which is subject to FTC approval, won't require any asset sales. The deal also is subject to BP Amoco's ability to reach a settlement with the FTC that would allow the London oil company to acquire Arco.

If the deal is canceled, Phillips wouldn't be entitled to any break-up fees, said a company spokeswoman.

Phillips Chief Executive Jim Mulva said the company doesn't plan to sell any of the Arco assets after the acquisition is completed. He also doesn't expect any work-force reductions to stem from the acquisition, but previous job cuts planned by Arco will occur.

The hefty acquisition will result in a credit-rating downgrade, said Mulva, who added the Bartlesville, Okla.-based company's credit rating will remain investment grade. Mulva said Phillips plans to "have an enhanced and a more aggressive exploration program" in Alaska than Arco did.

In the wake of the Federal Trade Commission's decision to suspend its lawsuit against the merger, "a positive outcome is likely to be achieved," said BP Amoco Deputy CEO Rodney Chase.

Chase also reiterated that despite the loss of Arco's Alaskan assets, BP Amoco's acquisition is still attractive. As one example, Chase cited the benefits BP Amoco would gain from the addition of Arco's refining assets.

The sale includes 1.1 million net exploration acores, a 21% interest in Trans Alaskan Pipeline System and the assets of Arco Marine. Phillips also gets a 43% stake in the Prudhoe Bay gas cap, a 22% interest in the oil rim and a range of interests in related fields.

Phillips also will acquire a 55% stake in the greater Kuparuk area and a 78% interest in the Alpine field. The company said the projects provide about 700 million barrels of upside reserve potential while the Prudhoe Bay gas cap has more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

In the National Petroleum Reserve Area, Phillips said it will hold almost a half million net acres, increasing the company's exposure to additional reserve potential.

Federal regulators had sued to block BP Amoco's $27.6 billion acquisition of Los Arco, saying the two companies' dominance over Alaskan oil production violated antitrust law. A hearing on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction to block the deal was scheduled for Monday.

"In light of the substantial and constructive proposals made by the defendants, all parties have agreed to seek adjournment of the federal court proceedings ... in order to conduct negotiations," according to a statement issued by Richard Parker, director of the FTC's bureau of competition.

The Wall Street Journal said the sale of the Alaskan assets would appear to remove the FTC's most substantial objection to the deal. A purchase of the assets by Phillips, which has little Alaskan oil production and no refining on the West Coast, wouldn't raise any obvious competitive concerns.

FTC staff lawyers have argued, and company officials deny, that the BP Amoco-Arco deal, as originally structured, would be anticompetitive because it would give far too much market power to one dominant concern in Alaska. BP Amoco and Arco account for about 70% of Alaska crude-oil production.

The crude from Alaska's oil-rich North Slope region, federal antitrust attorneys claim, is crucial to the West Coast supply chain, and one major company's control of the source could result in higher prices to refineries from California to Oregon.

(Compiled from Dow Jones Newswires and other sources) Copyright (c) 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS REPORT TO THE PEOPLE

March 15, 2000

Since my last article late last January, seventeen bills and five resolutions have passed the Senate. A brief summary of some of that legislation follows. In addition, the Senate Finance budget subcommittees are finalizing their work this week, and the Senate Finance Committee will soon begin our deliberations of the operating budget. As chairman of the Senate finance subcommittees on the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, I have closed out those budgets, to be finalized by the full Senate Finance Committee later this month.

Senate Bill 236, an Act establishing Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Recognition Days and Women Veterans Day, passed the Senate by a vote of 17 - 0. This bill establishes April 9 of each year to recognize all prisoners of war. The third Friday in September each year would also be set aside to honor all prisoners of war and those missing in action. November 9 would be established as Women Veterans Day. This bill is now in the House State Affairs Committee.

Senate Bill 175, an Act relating to state mining law, to methods of locating mining claims, to the granting of larger mining claims using a legal subdivision based on rectangular survey descriptions, and to mandatory rental payments for prospecting rights, passed the Senate by a vote of 20 - 0. This bill makes the mineral location process more efficient for the state as well as the locater. This bill is now in the House Resources Committee.

Senate Bill 250, an Act making and amending capital, supplemental, and other appropriations and reappropriations, passed the Senate by a vote of 19 - 0. This is the "fast track" supplemental budget, which funds emergency and other appropriations which must be made before the capital budget is passed later this session, such as funding for disaster relief and fire suppression. This bill is now in the House Finance Committee.

House Bill 192, an Act relating to reciting the pledge of allegiance by public school students, passed the Senate by a vote of 16 - 0. This bill requires public school students to recite the pledge of allegiance daily, or maintain a respectful silence. This bill is awaiting transmittal to the Governor for his signature.

Senate Joint Resolution 27, Proposing Amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to revisions of the state constitution and providing that a court may not change language of a proposed constitutional amendment or revision, passed the Senate by a vote of 14 - 5. These amendments would be on the next general election ballot and would ask voters to approve revisions as well as amendments to the Constitution by a two-thirds vote of the legislature. It would also provide that a court may not alter or change the legislature's language of the amendment or revision. This bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 176, an Act permitting a physical fitness facility or gymnasium to limit public accommodation to only males or only females, passed the Senate by a vote of 17 - 3. This bill allows female-only or male-only health clubs for individuals who wish to exercise only in the presence of those of the same gender. This bill is now in the House Rules Committee.

Last month a joint meeting of the Senate and House Finance Committees heard testimony from the Legislature's Commission on Privatization and Delivery of Government Services. This commission consisted of 11 members and more than 300 volunteers who served on the various subcommittees. They met during the past interim, approved a list of 20 recommendations, and submitted to the legislature a list of another 400 recommendations that were offered by commission members. The Senate Finance Subcommittees are studying those recommendations as they relate to departmental budgets. Before any function of state government is considered for privatization we must determine whether privatizing a particular function of state government will be financially beneficial.

If you have questions or comments on any of the above, or any issue facing the legislature this year, please don't hesitate to contact me. My e-mail address is Senator_Randy_Phillips@legis.state.ak.us. My telephone number is 1-800-478-4950 from the Anchorage and Chugiak-Eagle River areas. My address is P.O. Box 142, Eagle River, AK 99577.

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Government as Lawbreaker

Rep. Vic Kohring
March 6, 2000

In the early 20th Century, beginning in 1911, liberals sought a means to track and control every citizen in this nation. It was called the Social Security Act and was passed in 1935. A terrific fuss was made at the time by civil libertarians worried that the SSN could be used for nefarious purposes by the Federal Government. As a result, the law was passed with a major proviso that the SSN was not to be used for identification under any circumstances. There was much fear that the U.S. Government would turn into a tyrannical monster as many European governments were, using the SSN as an effective spying and tracking mechanism on their citizens.

For the next half century, the SSN was kept pretty much between individuals and the Social Security Administration. The back of the Social Security Card stated plainly that the card was not to be used for identification. Toward the end of the1960's, things began to change, when more and more activities were tracked by government with a SSN. The military began to use it instead of a serial number. State motor vehicle department's began to "ask" for it at driver's license renewal time.

In the Spring of 1998, Alaska's Legislature, lured by millions of federal tax dollars, passed a state law that required the SSN for new drivers' licenses as well as hunting and fishing licenses. The excuse this time was that it was necessary to track down "deadbeat dads." At least politicians admitted it was to be used for tracking purposes.

Now the Spector familiar from old World War II movies has finally come to pass; we have law enforcement demanding to see, "Papers, Papers!" This time as a de facto National ID Card. The police roadblock with a little gate, manned by Germans in dull gray uniforms, demanding "Papers, Papers!" culling the demeaned masses through a government gauntlet is now a very real scenario.

When opposing this attack on our privacy, I ran into the most ridiculous group of ideas. Proponents simply defined their way out of privacy issues. "But we need it to help the kids" was the constant refrain. This does not make sense on its face. While meant for deadbeat dads, all are required to show the SSN, men, women, children, teenagers. "But we need the federal money" was another constant reply. "But at the price of our liberty?" I asked them. To this, most legislators would simply not acknowledge the question. It was dismissed as unimportant.

This is a dangerous slide into government control of a once free country. The Alaska Constitution guarantees individuals' privacy. The new state mandated demand for the SSN denies this most seriously, and implies that the current Alaska government simply lies to its citizens as the federal government has long since done. Civil disobedience has already begun over this denial of privacy. At least one court case is ongoing and one of my constituents is planning on leaving the state if it's not reversed.

House Bill 311, which I've co-sponsored, would help reverse this advance of the government boot, but is now languishing in the House Resources Committee. Apparently the members of this committee are unaware of the dangers of having a National ID Card, or worse, don't understand the issue. They could use a few thousand Public Opinion Messages and E-mails to induce them to act. But then freedom is always lost a little at a time for allegedly humanitarian reasons.

Wake up Alaska! We are losing our precious liberty to the state. Are we Volk marching in lock step to an Orwellian Big Brother? Or are we free Alaskans?

Vic Kohring, Alaska House District 26, Representative Kohring is a third term Republican, and serves Wasilla and Peters Creek in the Alaska State Legislature.

Phone: (800) 468-2186
E-Mail:Representative_Vic_Kohring@legis.state.ak.us

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Protecting future of the Permanent Fund

SEN. LYDA GREEN
March 11, 2000

The Alaska Permanent Fund is perhaps the greatest single achievement of our state politicians in the last 25 years. What is remarkable is that our generation, instead of spending every dollar, created a Permanent Fund to benefit Alaskans - potentially forever.

But some politicians cannot seem to leave well enough alone, and the dividend has come under attack, threatened by a half-dozen proposals to cap, reduce or eliminate it. It is time to protect the dividend and remove it from the budget debate altogether.

The original constitutional amendment creating the fund stated: At least 25 per cent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, royalty sale proceeds, federal mineral revenue-sharing payments and bonuses received by the state shall be placed in a permanent fund, the principal of which shall be used only for those income producing investments specifically designated by law as eligible for Permanent Fund investments. All income from the Permanent Fund shall be deposited in the general fund unless otherwise provided by law. (Alaska Constitution Article IX, Section 15)

According to the 1998 Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. guide: The driving force behind the Permanent Fund was concern that the vast and fast-flowing oil wealth from Prudhoe Bay would be drained as soon as it flowed into the state treasury, that little or no money would be left for subsequent generations.

The Permanent Fund comes from the oil owned by the state of Alaska. Like the oil, the fund belongs to the people of Alaska collectively.

The principal of the fund has been carefully invested and expertly managed, and Alaskans receive what no other citizens of any other state, nation or land have ever shared: an equal dividend from the growth of long-term, prudent investment of our jointly owned non-renewable resources.

The Legislature determined the best public purpose for earnings from the Permanent Fund would be individual dividends and inflation-proofing. In 1982, the current dividend program was enacted. However, the Legislature left unanswered what to do with any excess earnings after dividends and inflation-proofing had been paid. Subsequent legislatures took leftover earnings and deposited them back into the Permanent Fund principal. A full third of our fund principal comes from these special legislative deposits.

Countries from around the world, state governments, financial organizations - including the World Bank - have inquired about the astonishing success of Alaska's Permanent Fund and our unique dividend program. Alaska's program of saving for the future and investing one-time wealth to create more wealth for sustained prosperity is a success story of which Alaskans have every right to be proud.

Each of us has an incentive to be a vigilant guardian to preserve and protect the long-term growth and stability of the Permanent Fund, ensuring Alaska's financial strength for generations to come.

The Permanent Fund dividend is distributed equally, regardless of race, age, sex, creed or religion. Dividends operate as a check and balance, keeping government spending and taxing under control. Dividends tie the people of Alaska directly to the Permanent Fund and economic development.

As equal shareholders of our oil, all Alaskans get a tangible benefit from resource development when they receive their annual Permanent Fund dividend. This ensures a unique direct connection between economic prosperity, long-term investment, state resource development and the personal financial interest of every Alaskan.

Every cubic foot of gas, every barrel of oil and every profitable Permanent Fund investment generates a bigger dividend for every Alaskan - a powerful incentive for economic development.

The constitution protects the principal of the Permanent Fund, but its earnings have no constitutional protections whatsoever. Dividends, inflation-proofing and unspent earnings are at the mercy of each Legislature, each year.

Senate Joint Resolution 35 is a constitutional amendment to guarantee continuation of the successful 18-year history of providing for dividends, inflation-proofing and undistributed income. SJR35 gives the current statutory formulas for distribution of dividends and inflation-proofing constitutional protection.

Once Alaskans are confident the dividend is safe and the integrity of the fund's principal is protected from inflation, they may be ready to begin the discussion about what to do with any excess earnings.

But the first step is to restore the peoples' trust. I hope to give that trust back through SJR35.

Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, represents the Mat-Su area in the Alaska Senate.

E-Mail: Senator_Lyda_Green@legis.state.ak.us

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AN ALASKAN CONSUMER'S VIEW

Ray Metcalfe
March 15, 2000

Dear Mr. Click and Mr. Clack
@ National Public radio

I would like to nominate my 1984 Lincoln continental in your contest for the worst car ever made in the 20th century.

I purchased my Lincoln new on April 14, 1984

On my first proud day of ownership, no more than three blocks from the show room floor, the Interior overhead headliner came loose and fell down on my head.

A couple days later, the parking brake decided not to fully release. Just enough to leave that dam warning light on constantly. The Dealer couldn't figure out why the light was on and I drove it that way until the light burned out.

On my first drive in the rain, rainwater came gushing in around the windshield seals soaking the dashboard and the wiring under it before I got back to town. Down time 2 days.

The dealer fixed the windshield but, that saturated stuff under the dash, you know, things like heat controls and stuff, they began to "not work" once and a while.

Unfortunately, they wouldn't "not work" in front of the dealer. Consequently, repairs were refused.

This all happened before I had a 1,000 Miles on the car and it was the beginning of a long and sad story.

At 1,015 Miles, I discovered a couple inches of water sloshing around in my trunk. I bailed it out but every time I went through a car wash.

I took the car back to the Dealer and he replaced some seals and gave the car back to me. Down time 1 day.

Along about my fourth month of ownership, that cover under dash, you know, that one covering the wiring just above the drivers feet, It fell down and obstructed peddles while I was on the highway (Almost wrecked) Down time 1 day.

And remember the trunk, it kept right on leaking. The trunk's interior and a very nice hunting rifle rusted from moisture before I figured it out.

The dealer replaced more seals and painted interior of trunk but the rifle was my tough luck. Down time 2 days.

On my fourth proud month of ownership, at 1,465 Miles, the chrome trim on right front fender fell off while cruising down the highway. While the dealer was repairing it I complained that the brake light was still on constantly and I made a second request for a new heat and air control panel. (Request refused.) Down time 1 day.

On month 6, at 3,512 Miles, I discovered the trunk still lets a little water leek in. The cardboard backing on trunk interior side panels had collapsed from the moisture and the interior needs painting again. The Dealer painted the trunk for the second time, replaced the side panels but my request for new trunk interior carpeting was denied. Down time 2 days.

On month 11, at 6,954 Miles, my right rear chrome trim has also fallen off. My power radio antenna won't extend or retract, the dash molding around radio and heater controls has fallen off, my right rear window won't go up and a total failure of my heat and air controls has finally come to pass.

The dealer replaced the antenna, dismantled door and repaired the window, re-affixed the dash molding around radio and heater controls, ordered a new heater climate control system and a new piece of chrome trim for the right rear fender. Down time 1 day.

Three weeks later, the dealer pulled the dash panels, installed the new heater control, mounted the new trim on right rear panel, replaced the rotted out portion of carpet in trunk. (The remaining carpet doesn't match) and during the visit, I pointed out that the wood grain veneer was peeling off of three of the plastic door trim panels. (Dealer ordered new trim for three doors) Down time 1 day.

On month 13, at 8,800, I received my first annual letter from Lincoln affirming Lincoln's commitment to quality and asking for comment. (It was good for a laugh)

On month 14, 1985, AT 9,430 Miles, Dealer Installed three new trim panels that didn't match the rest of the trim and the driver's wing window won't close. (The dealer dismantled the driver's door and repaired the window) My Lincoln now had multi-color trim panels through out, my brake light is still on constantly and the interior door moldings are beginning to look a little gnarly from being pried apart and beaten back together so many times.

On month 18, at 12,646 Miles I requested repair of a vibration in front end. Request was refused because it only vibrated between 65 and 75 MPH which was then over the 55 mph speed. The Dealer said obey the speed limit and it won't vibrate.

On month 22, at 15,992 Miles, after tires were badly worn, Dealer finely decided the car needed front-end attention. He also tuned to alleviate hard starts and rough running in cold. Down time 1 day.

Also during month 22, on my 12th return to the Dealer in for warranty work in 22 months, the dealer once again repaired driver side window for the third time. Window had developed a wind leek and the rubber molding inside the door was coming down with window. Down time 1 day.

On June 14/, 1986, AT 20,000 Miles, I received my second Lincoln quality commitment letter from Lincoln. A copy of my un-assured letter of response is available on request.

At 21,227 Miles I made my 13th return for warrantee work when the windshield washer began squirting through the left fender and not on windshield. (You heard right through the left fender.) Before I got in to the appointment, the driver's interior door pull strap fell off and a few days later, passenger strap also fell off.

For the next several days, because there is no other place to grip the door from the inside, my passengers and I had to roll down our windows grip the door and pull it closed. "O," and remember that front end work, it didn't work. Front tires are balled at 21,000 miles and there is a loud humming noise when braking.

At 22,409 Miles, I finally got trim panels that matched and special order door pull straps parts were here. While getting them installed, I pointed out that the Lincoln emblem on the trunk had fallen off and the cruise control was inoperative. Dealer repaired cruise control and ordered new emblem. Down time 2 days.

On month 18, at 25,505 miles, Car died in traffic. (Towed and repaired fuel pump) While car at dealership, I pointed out that the car steering was occasionally locking up when trying to turn right. It would only turn about half as far as it should and sometimes forced wide turns when turning right. (Dealer Repaired) Down time 2 days.

On month 32, AT 28,490 Miles 7,000 Miles later, that windshield washer part is in. Rear exterior body panel under rear bumper is coming loose & hanging but the dealer won't warrant and I fixed it myself. Also, the interior light cover broke and fell off. (The Dealer did replaced the light cover.) Down time 1 day.

On month 37, AT 32,356 Miles, Left glove box door fell off. (Dealer Re-affix.) Dropped off to get that Lincoln trunk emblem installed but they sent wrong color. (Re-order.) While there, I complained again about the excessive noise when braking and pointed out that the power antenna went kaput again. (Dealer replaced pads and antenna.) Down time 1 day.

"O", and we finally figured out why the brake light wouldn't go off. Some spring had busted in the right rear brake assembly, causing the brake to kind of just relax and rub slightly, rather than disengage. The pad was gone and metal-to-metal in just one wheel was the source of the noise.

Yup, you got it, I had driven 32,000 miles with the right rear brake on.

On month 45, at 35,547 miles, auto died in traffic. Towing required. (Replace internal engine timing gear made of Teflon, with a steel gear and replace with heavier timing chain. Down time 7 days.

AT four years into ownership and 38,738 Miles, I finely got proper replacement for Lincoln emblem trunk lock cover. (16,000 Miles after it fell off. Down time 1 day.

At 50,192 Miles, just 192 miles after the warrantee ran out, Auto died in traffic and required towing. Dealer Replaced computer module, ignition coil, rotor, distributor cap and choke coil. Down time 5 days.

October/13/1988, AT 50,300 miles, the exterior driver side door handle fell off. Had to crawl in from passenger side window for a week. (Pulled driver side door apart again and replace.) Down time 1 day.

AT 52,700 Miles, total transmission failure. Complete rebuild required. Down time 7 days.

AT 53,928 Miles, The water pump failed.
AT 56,029 The alternator failed

AT 59,251 Miles, rear end differential failure. Failed on highway. Pushed car off road, hitch-hiked to phone, called wrecker. Down time 5 days.

6/1/89, AT 60,000 Miles, remember those wooden veneer interior dash and door trim panels. The ones it took Lincoln a year and a half to replace with new ones that matched? The new ones are peeling again.

On Dec. 12, 1988, I did sent a detailed the history of my troubles in formal complaint to the local Lincoln Dealer and the regional complaint department in Seattle. They refused to make a written response.

When later confronted the regional complaint department in Seattle by phone they refused to make amends and said; "Sounds normal to us."

Ford quality my foot.

PS: I hope your listeners are amused by my auto ownership adventures. If they are amused enough, who knows, maybe Ford would offer me a new Cadillac if I would just promise not to send this letter out again.

And don't worry, you can use this. It's a true story and I have the receipts to prove it. Should you have any questions, please call me at (907)-344-4514.

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What Part of “No” Don’t They Understand?

Representatives John Coghill, Jerry Sanders, Scott Ogan and Vic Kohring
February 28, 2000

At the end of the Special Session on subsistence last year, the four of us bolted the Republican Majority because we believed that all Alaskans are equal before the law and that passing a rural subsistence preference would destroy this hallowed notion. But this was not the only reason. Since 1994 when many Republicans were elected to the Legislature confident that we would finally contain the growth of government power and taxation that was impeding our economy and our constituents rights and freedoms, we noticed that gradually the very Republicans who once espoused…“no new taxes until the budget is balanced” were giving in to virtually every known special interest. New taxes and fees were being imposed with regularity.

A tobacco tax was passed, fees on out-of-state truckers, taxes on every snowmachine owner in the state, the dreadful issue of the giving up of our privacy in the matter of mandatory disclosure of a social security number for a driver’s license, to name a few. These incursions into our liberty and pocketbooks could be expected of Democrats, but not Republicans. Yet to our dismay, the Republican Majority, at the direction of its leadership, passed them all.

To be very specific, from the Republican National Platform, Section II, Building a Better America, we find the phrases, “cutting the near-record tax burden on Americans” and “reducing government spending and its size, while balancing the budget.” Forking over more money than ever to government and creating a de-facto national ID card with your social security number on your driver’s license, is clearly contrary to stated Republican principles. Yet Republicans voted for it. We did not.

It gets worse. This session, after the people voted overwhelmingly “No” on the Permanent Fund raid, House Bill 411 was filed by liberal Republicans Bill Hudson and Gail Phillips, as yet another attempt to steal your money and hand it over to government for more giveaway social programs. In addition, another Republican filed legislation to create a new Alaska Income Tax. House Bill 124, would plunder working Alaskan’s paychecks, and is under consideration as we write.

Where is the Majority leadership getting its ideas? From Karl Marx, Lenin, Eugene Debs? Certainly not the state Republican Party Platform or the Republican National Platform which, in Principle 10 states, “Because our country’s greatest strength is its people, not its government, we believe today’s government is too large and intrusive and does too many things that people could do better for themselves.” How do you accomplish this with an income tax?

Despite cutting the budget gradually, albeit minimally, over the last six years (which we commend the majority for), the overall budget has grown and more bureaucrats then ever live on the backs of Alaskan workers. Where is the effort to remove the “large and intrusive government?” Is a new income tax or a new, devious scheme to raid the Permanent Fund the way to do this? Obviously not.

That is why we four have filed HJR 49, which would const-itutionally protect the dividend program and keep politicians hands off it once and for all. We stand four square for cutting the state bureaucracy of all its waste and removing those non-essential programs that are clearly not called for in the state’s constitution.

Since 1994, the House Majority leadership has shifted to the left philosophically, no longer the proud, freedom-loving Republicans we used to know. We hold this liberal leadership responsible, along with the Democrats, for giving away the store and trying to force you, the Alaskan worker, to pay for it with new taxes, fees, laws and regulations. We also charge the leadership with hypocrisy because they cannot even follow their own state or national platform which properly calls for major reductions in government.

We demand that they read the platform and adhere to it. No new taxes! No new fees! Cut our bloated state bureaucracy. Act like principled leaders instead of appeasing government at every turn.

Please join us, the Uncompromised Four. We will vote for freedom and against government control every time. Join us before our beautiful state is turned into another Third World jungle.

John Coghill represents Fairbanks, Jerry Sanders, Anchorage, Scott Ogan, Palmer and Vic Kohring, Wasilla/Peters Creek. All are Republicans and are the four who bolted the House Majority Caucus last year and formed the Conservative Republican Caucus.

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Can the state borrow $25,000 from us?

Dale Luther
February 13, 2000

McFund - Click to Enlarge
Copyright © 2000 Dale Luther. All Rights Reserved.

The debate continues. Below is a letter published in last week's Anchorage Daily News on how I think we should handle this.

Another dividend plan

What would you rather have: $25,000 that you can use to invest now, or $1,000 a year for the next 25 years? There is no guarantee the program will be around that long before politicians tap into it and we lose the dividend entirely.

Instead of the Mackie plan, I propose the Luther plan. Base the payout on who was in Alaska three years ago. To avoid a "boom and bust" Alaska economy, the payout could be paid out over the next three years: $10,000 in the year 2001, $10,000 in the year 2002, and $5,000 in the year 2003. By going back three years for eligibility, it would discourage large families from moving to Alaska or people deciding to have children for the sole purpose of receiving multiple dividend checks.

A program could be set up that would allow people the option to roll this amount directly into a mutual fund, retirement fund or college fund. This would encourage saving and offer the benefit of being tax-free money until the money was pulled out of the account.

I believe this is a plan that Alaskans could agree to.

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