In support of the Mackie plan

Posted: Tuesday, April 04, 2000

Hurray for Jerry Mackie. He has shown great insight into state finances and public opinion. His proposal (SJR33) is a viable response to the public's rejection of the Legislature's proposal to tap the permanent fund. This proposal, if adopted by the voters this fall, will give each qualified Alaskan a one-time payout of $25,000 in exchange for all claims to future dividends.

This is like a buyback of shares by the corporation. As such the individual is relinquishing their claims on the fund. Thus, I believe this amount comes as a long-term capital gain, not direct income. The income tax under current law is 20 percent maximum.

It seems a wonderful boost to senior citizens who face increased medical costs. It offers to the middle-aged Alaskans the prospect of greatly improved retirement. To the younger parents, the funds will enable the pay-down of the mortgage, the down payment on housing, reserves for medical needs or college tuition for the kids. Young single adults can fund further education without incurring student loan indebtedness. We all stand to win.

The state Legislature and hopefully, through them, all residents of the Great Land will also benefit. This proposal makes the earnings account of the permanent fund accessible for use to provide for government services without the perennial haggling, at least for a few years. This may help move us to a 90-day session and thus save the state millions of dollars.

I encourage all Alaskans to evaluate this proposal, discuss with your family and friends, and contact your legislators today. Time is of the essence. It must be kept moving to be on the ballot for voter approval/rejection this fall. What a way to start a century.

I have considered it. I have discussed it. I have contacted legislators. I will vote yes.

Bill ElkintonJuneau

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