Improve the economy

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2001

Alaskans hear lots about fiscal plans, but most such plans are "cover stories" for stealing PFDs to fund government, despite our 83 percent "no" vote.

Gov. Hammond, Hugh Malone, Oral Freeman, etc., set up the PFD so Alaskans would closely watch the Permanent Fund. That PFD law forever changed the fund's "original intent." Gov. Hickel called Alaska the "owner state," because Alaskans are the state, so Alaskans, as owners, deserve their PFDs.

But now some - mostly Republicans - say they want to scrap PFDs because they don't like people "getting something for nothing." A Republican state senator even admitted he said that, too.

But not all Republicans think that way. Remember, Republican Hammond wanted closely involved citizens - closely watching is doing something. Remember, too, Republican Hickel said ownership is enough to justify PFDs. Remember them, and not the New Republican, anti-PFD, philosophy.

Others say not to give PFDs with one hand and take taxes back with the other.

Actually, PFDs help most the low-income Alaskans, because PFDs are a bigger percentage of lower incomes. And income taxes usually take more from higher income people who can afford it, than from low or moderate-income people who cannot. So "PFD and tax" makes sense to low- and moderate-income Alaskans: 83 percent of us.

A fiscal gap exists because the Legislature spends more than Alaska receives. That violates Alaska's constitutional ideal of "spend as you go."

Few seem to think about helping Alaska earn more money through clean economic growth - for example, by in-state processing of Alaska resources, with a corporate income tax that taxes most the corporations - and LLCs - which profit most. Thinking only of finance, they've forgotten economics - so Alaska wages and incomes fall.

Don't let them take your PFD. Make them improve Alaska's economy - and state revenues - instead.

Joe Sonneman


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