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THE CURE FOR ALASKA'S FISCAL PROBLEMS:
LISTEN TO THE POPULIST DOCTORS - THE 83% COALITION!


By FREEDOM WRITER
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
April 27, 2002

The legislators in Juneau are wringing their hands as the session nears its end. The state bureaucrats all over Alaska are sweating big time as they grieve over proposed budget cuts at public hearings. The individuals, & families, & small business owners in Alaska are worried about making their rent or mortgage payments or payrolls & are getting insomnia while pollsters ask for their telephone poll opinions. What is this apparent disease in the Last Frontier? The "dis-ease" is over pending new taxes on the people to maintain a "bloated leviathan" of state government, as Rep. Vic Kohring recently wrote. How can we settle this "dis-ease"? The people of Alaska already spoke in September 1999 to the tune of over 83% on how not to cure the "dis-ease"! They, at the ballot box, overwhelmingly said "DON'T TOUCH THE PERMANENT FUND" Countless polls since then, including the recent Ivan Moore poll commisisoned by Rep. Eric Croft, have resulted in a majority of Alaskans not wanting any more new taxes, neither income or sales. This is the parameter of the "dis-ease". Now here is the cure.

Let's analyze the components of this "dis-ease" & cure. First, the 2 halves of the equation is as simple as a housewife putting together the family's budget. There's INCOME and there's OUTGO.

Let's continue with INCOME. The Democrats want Income Taxes. The Republicans want Sales Taxes or no taxes at all. All oher politicians want User Fees increased. The people want NONE OF THE ABOVE. The people don't want their PFD (Permanent Fund Divident check) capped, reduced, or spent, either. What is the only other alternative? Well, it's right in the Alaska State Constitution where the State's Founding Fathers & Mothers put it. All the sub-surface mineral rights in Alaska are not privately held but owned by the people of Alaska, collectively, through their State Government. Through statute & constitutional amendment, revenue collected from resource development on state lands goes into the State Treasury and eventually most of it goes into the Permanent Fund. This is what former two-time Alaska Governor & former Interior Secretary under former Pres. Nixon calls "The Owner-State". The analogy is akin to what many underdeveloped nations in the Third World do to promote their economic development & fund their treasuries. This has been done rather poorly & ineffectively under most of our previous governors & legislatures, especially under the current Governor Tony Knowles, who has been snuggly & cozy with his ties, both political & financial, to this greasy special interest group. Freedom Writer supports the "83% Coaltion" in their attempt to protect the PFD by INCREASING THE TAXES ON THE OIL INDUSTRY IN ALASKA. Third World countries get far more income from their partnership with the oil industry than Alaska does. One just has to look at the lack of modern health & sanitation & infrastructure systems in rural (MOST OF ) Alaska to realize that, despite the apparent evidence of progress in the urban areas of Alaska, most of Alaska is still an underdeveloped Third World region. Only the oil industry officials & state employees (elected, appointed, & classified) have benefited consistently since the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was constructed. It's time for someone to pay their fair share & the oil industry needs to do that in Alaska, rather than government (supported by campaign contributions from that special interest group) picking the pockets of hard-working Alaskan citizens.

Let's continue with OUTGO. Alaska's $6.8 billion dollar budget for its 600,000 citizens means over $11, 333 are spent per capita. Unless you are a person or family on public assistance/welfare, are you, the average working Alaskan getting $11, 333 per year of services from the state? Not me. I cannot even get the Alaska Department of Law Civil Division to investigate consumer problems with some businesses anymore. Yet the state government wants more of my money to do less & less. What's wrong with this picture? Even the people who definitely need the public assistance - the handicapped, in particular - are having their services reduced. Where's the money going? While our "tax & spend" senior senator Ted Stevens continues his lead on the Chief Pork Barrel List, per the Citizens Against Government Waste's annual report for the umpteenth year, by managing to siphon increased federal funds to our direction, this money does not trickle down to the average citizen. Yet the money is from the average citizen anyway, through gasoline taxes, mostly. Let's not forget those Alaskans on welfare who are "held harmless" by the State Department of Health & Social Services, through legislation, so they can get both their monthly welfare check AND the Permanent Fund Dividend check (plural if you count their minor children also) in the fall. IT'S TIME ALL CITIZENS OF ALASKA ARE TREATED EQUALLY & GET RID OF THIS "SPECIAL INTEREST" LEGISLATION WHICH ONLY SERVES TO PERPETUATE A CONSTITUENCY FOR THE TAX & SPEND LIBERAL LEFT & THEIR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES JOB SECURITY. The public welfare money is needed for the TRULY NEEDY! While we are discussing reality here, let's put the reign on the galloping runaway horse of increased state spending. Freedom Writer supports REP. VIC KOHRING'S PLAN TO REDUCE STATE GOVERNMENT SPENDING, ALSO. Only by re-instituting the fair & equitable treatment of all Alaskans & by stopping the growth of government can there be fiscal responsibility & sanity in the hallowed halls of our state government & in the hones of Alaskan families.

Let's finish analyzing our housewife's budget. Second, the 2 halves of the equation only work when it's balanced. Isn't that what they taught us in math class during our school years? Yes, to have a balanced equation in math & to have a balanced budget for the family & government, then INCOME MUST EQUAL OUTGO. Only in times of emergency should there by any deficit spending at all. Even the Cremo Plan should be considered for long-range planning to maintain a stable income base to eliminate the "peaks & valleys" of "boom & bust" cycles. The "Bottom Line" is: There should be an adoption of a BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT to the State Constitution.

Let's finish the debate on this. It's time for the state legislators & the Governor of Alaska to TAKE THEIR OATHS OF OFFICE SERIOUSLY. They are supposed to represent ALL OF US, not special interests. The Democrats can escape the Income Tax mentality & get behind this POPULIST IDEA & still maintain that they are doing the PEOPLE'S WORK. The Republicans can escape their Sales Tax mentality & get behind this POPULIST IDEA & still maintain that they are for SMALL BUSINESSES. All the other politicians can escape their User Fee Increase mentality & get behind this POPULIST IDEA & still maintain that they are for FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. The Governor & his Administration can escape their "Warm & Fuzzy Finger in the Wind" mentality & get behind this POPULIST IDEA & still maintain that they are DOING THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS. Yes, this POPULIST IDEA is workable, achievable, & CONSTITUTIONAL . Even the Alaska Supreme Court should have no problem judging this one if the Oil Industry should fight, as they did a good job of INTERPRETING THE LAW (which is their job) by throwing out the original unconstitutional Knowles-Ulmer Reapportionment Board plan earlier this year. When the Oil Industry pays their fair share from the extraction & development of the resources WHICH BELONG TO ALL ALASKANS, & when the state government exercises FISCAL SANITY, then there will be no more budget deficits or fiscal crises, & the 600,000 plus Alaskans can truly enjoy the "Good Life" in the "Last Frontier" like our Founding Fathers & Mothers intended. Freedom Writer supports the 83% Coalition (the majority of Alaskans including Jim Sykes, Ray Metcalfe, Soren Wuerth, Eddie Burke, et al) & consideration of the Cremo Plan & a Balanced Budget Amendment & treating ALL ALASKANS EQUALLY. That is the cure.

Freedom Writer

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