Use some of permanent fund dividend for government projects

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007

I have long been in favor of using the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend to pay for projects, services and maintenance in Alaska. Perhaps it could be distributed on odd years to residents, and on even years, it could be used to pay for community and state-selected projects. By pooling together as Alaskans, we'd be building on our foundational needs and, yes, maybe a few pet projects. Just think of what could be accomplished. Lower property taxes, less bonding, sales taxes reapportioning and no debt. For this contract with our state, we'd want truthful, transparent identification, evaluation and oversight by a board, with absolute assurance that the money is spent wisely, efficiently and effectively.

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Is this possible? Yes, but because so many of us residents think that this is impossible to expect, we keep our hand out, thinking that we may as well spend it ourselves, instead of entrusting our government to do so. This year, ours was spent on student loans and bills. I'm willing to give it a try. Perhaps, as a trade for the years that the state receives the dividend, we receive a fuel or tax credit or an increase of distribution in the years we receive the dividend. Or not, if it defeats the purpose.

We could enter a contract with state, on a four year probationary period to prove itself. If they succeed, great; then we've all succeeded. We could then continue the contract for another select period of time. If they let us down and break our trust and do not fulfill their obligation, then we immediately terminate the contract and fire the lot of them instantly with penalty. I personally will be looking for success.

Helene Keso


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