The price of oil has gone up, the state is making money hand over fist and there is no end in sight. There is an anticipated $1 billion in revenues and the cost of heating oil to Alaskans is more than doubled and for some unfortunate Alaskans tripled. So how do we help each other? Former Sen. Jerry Mackie at the Southeast Native Summit held Nov. 14-15 presented the following solution to the delegation to help Alaskans.
The Alaska Legislature should introduce and pass a Supplemental Energy Dividend Bill for all Alaskans. This would be a one-time supplemental dividend for all Alaskans that have received a 2005 Dividend.
1) Additional dividend to be paid to each recipient of a 2005 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
2) A general fund appropriation adopted by the Legislature early in the session (Sen. Gene Therriault, North Pole, and Sen. Albert Kookesh are looking at this.)
3) For example: $300 million for a $500 dividend.
4) This is the quickest approach of placing assistance into the hands of every Alaskan. Alaskans, not government, can best decide how to allocate these funds to meet their energy related expenses.
If passed in January it could be distributed as soon as February or March 2006. This is when Alaskans will really need the help. Please call, write or e-mail your representative and senator to let them know this should bill should be sponsored by all and the first bill passed in January.
Check the Web site to find the e-mail, phone and address for your representative and senators. http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/ home.htm.
I know winter is hard for all of us. I hope my representatives and senator from Juneau (Kerttula, Elton and Weyhrauch) care enough about Juneauites to support this proposed legislation and make it a priority to help us.