By AlaskaWatchman.com

Alaska money pic

I keep hearing that the Republicans must compromise in order to gain a fiscal plan for Alaska. Compromise is a virtue in the politically-correct-woke world. I looked at the two issues that are supposedly blocking the enactment of the fiscal plan.

First, the demand of Democrats and RINO Republicans that additional revenue in the amount of $700 million must be added in new or current taxes in order to justify a full statutory PFD payment to Alaskans. If those of us who are advocates of the private sector just compromise, and ask our legislators to raise oil taxes by $700 million by killing the oil tax credit, we could have a fiscal plan? Right? That’s the same logic as Commonwealth North who built a computer model with three alternatives for folks who want a fiscal plan: 1. Raise oil taxes. 2. Enact a sales tax. 3. Re-enact a personal income tax. Factually, however, we don’t need another $700 million fed to our bloated state government from the private sector. If we compromise, we capitulate.

Democrats and RINO Republicans deny we have the money to pay a sustained dividend. They want us to ignore the actual performance of the Alaska Permanent Fund…

Let’s be clear. If you read the CPA’s opinion on the financial statements of the State of Alaska, you discover that our books are in surplus. In other words, we bring in more revenue that we require to balance our state’s budget. It also discloses that expenses each year have gone up despite those who would tell you that the budget has been slashed.

Let me explain. If you project a budget of $1,000 but only actually spend $800, you can claim (just like the majorities in both houses) that you have slashed the budget by 20%. The fact that last year, the Legislature spent $750 is not mentioned. The fact that you are asking to increase the budget by 25% is not mentioned. The budget is where the liberals want you to focus. But the reality is the actual income and expense of the financial statements. See the shell game? They are hiding our income and expense with word games.

Some Legislators have the gall to say, we don’t have the money to pay the collected and earned dividend.

Second, Democrats and RINO Republicans deny we have the money to pay a sustained dividend. They want us to ignore the actual performance of the Alaska Permanent Fund which in the last fiscal year made $19.4 billion in net income for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. We made another $395.5 million just during the month of July 2021. Because of the insanity of the Percentage of Market Value rule, our earnings of 29.73% ($19.4 billion) were hidden from you and only 5% of profits were available for dividends and appropriations. Slick trick.

The Legislature set aside 5.25% of the entire Fund for its contribution to government expense and dividends. Arbitrarily. Willingly. They cut off the earnings to deny their constituents those earnings. Then they used the Act they created to deny their constituents their earned dividends. They left the money in the Reserve account, subject to their immediate appropriation.

So, the fisherman in Bristol Bay with a wife and three kids gets stiffed $16,000 while our legislators burn through the 3rd Special Session with cash per diems! According to the financial statements for July 2021, we have $20.9 BILLION in our Permanent Fund reserve account. Some Legislators have the gall to say, we don’t have the money to pay the collected and earned dividend. Going back to an earnings calculation as we had for nearly 40 years and getting away from this insane system of calculation by confusion is required and obvious. If we compromise, we capitulate.

Let’s be straight. The Legislature, through its coalitions, has stopped Governor Dunleavy is his tracks.

Dividends set by earnings calculations are self-sustaining. Always. If we have a good year, we pay more. If we have a bad year, we learn our lessons and change personnel. Just like every other profit-seeking enterprise in Alaska.

The status quo perpetrators are deathly afraid of the Constitutional Convention. How do the special interests hold onto their iron-fisted control of the State budget and force more spending each year for our failed education system? Or the failed judicial appointment process that provides an automatic majority of bar association members to preclude conservative judges? Or telling people that the budget is going down while the actual expenses are exploding.

Let’s be straight. The Legislature, through its coalitions, has stopped Governor Dunleavy is his tracks. They have stopped his cost cuts, his statutory dividend, his stand against public corruption and his Constitutional amendments to protect the dividend, cap state expenses and contain the Legislature’s never-ending thirst for state taxes.

Why would a representative or senator from the rural area of the state deny his or her poor constituents their dividends? The statute on the books was not amended to change the distribution formulae. Our Legislature abetted by Governor Walker changed the rules, ignored the law and now wants public approval for their intransigence and spendthrift ways.

To put the voters back in the driver’s seat means driving straight to the Constitutional Convention. The opposition is already using scare tactics to convince you that it’s a terrible idea. To them, it’s terrible since it takes the power away from their special interests and reinstalls the public in decision making for Alaska. If you want a solution to the dividend, if you want an incorruptible judicial system, if you want Constitution protection for a budget and a vibrant state economy, take a hard look at the Constitutional Convention. The protection for Alaskans is that every issue that gains a majority in a Constitutional Convention must be approved by the vote of a majority of Alaskans at the next election.

It is time for a change. The Legislature has proven that it will not create a fiscal plan. Their plans end the Governor’s plans for a vibrant economy. We can’t compromise without capitulation. Time for Alaskans to step up and vote for our children’s future.

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Alaskans must not compromise or capitulate on PFD payment or fiscal plan

Jim Crawford
Jim Crawford is a third-generation Alaskan entrepreneur who resides in Anchorage. The Alaska Institute for Growth is a local think tank which studies and reports on and may sponsor projects of sustained economic growth for the Alaskan economy. Mr. Crawford known as the Permanent Fund Defender was a member of the Investment Advisory Committee, appointed by Governor Hammond to plan and execute the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.