The Permanent Fund Dividend:
The Permanent Fund Dividend must be restored, and every dime stolen from the Alaskans must be repaid. The Permanent Fund is hovering around $85 billion right now and if they paid out every dime owed to Alaskans we’d still have around $74 billion in there. With oil prices rocketing skyward under the… well, the folks in the White House, we’d make that back up in no time. Many Alaskans rely on that infusion each year.
At the founding of our country, one of the popular battle cries was Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny. We say that we have no state tax in Alaska, but this is not accurate. Because we do not have mineral rights to the property we think we own (don’t fool yourself. You pay rent on your land), the state pays us a dividend of the money collected on Alaska’s oil… in theory. In the administration of the last governor, Bill Walker strangely discovered he could simply confiscate money guaranteed to Alaskans and it has not been fixed yet. And yes, I know that was done by the legislature in cohorts with that man. It was not just him. But the buck stops on the governor’s desk.
Say, “Well, Bruce, at least we have representation in Juneau.” Are you sure? When you have people who promise to restore the dividend and dozens of other promises, then they go to Fortress Juneau, and forget every promise (neither party is clean), you are not being represented. The one hope is that we live in a republic, and in a state with a republican form of government, and we can elect better people, right?
Sadly, we return the same people to Juneau, we elect their son, daughter, whoever, or we move those from one office to the other like we are in a shell game. We keep doing the same things and expecting a different outcome. In psychological circles this defines insanity.
So, it is time for new thinking and new blood. I asked our current governor why the situation is what it is, and his response was that it is not his fault, it is the fault of the legislature or certain ones therein. That excuse works for a while. Seven years into the problem, I’m no longer buying- are you?
First off, I do not see the governor “Trump-Stumping” for better legislators. But you will see me doing it.
Second, if the legislators will not give you back what is yours, I will go to each district, and call them out by name and tell exactly what they are doing and how they are living in Juneau.
Third, I will convene the legislature in Wasilla. Let them gavel in and gavel out. Let them go home and become comfortable, and then I’ll reconvene the following week in Fairbanks. The next week in Utqiagvik. The next in Wainwright. Then Sleetmute. Can you say, Kiska? I can make this just as uncomfortable as they wish. I am a career Green Beret and I can happily live indefinitely in a tent and eat MREs if it takes it.
But the main thing, my friends and neighbors is that we have- you have- got to elect better people. A few years ago, a legislator from another state said that if you want to find legislators and such you don’t find them in the White Pages. Well, I disagree. I say that it is exactly where you find them. More accurately, I will tell you the most likely place to find that person. He or she is very likely the person that meets you in the mirror each morning.
What is more, this November we will have the opportunity to vote for a Constitutional Convention. We have shied away from this in the past. That time has passed into history. It is time for Alaska to rethink the way we do business and it is time that we put into place a Constitutional Amendment defining the exact process for the PFD and ensuring the payout of same. And while you are at it, we need to re-look at how we appoint and retain judges here, but that’s another issue. But you had better see to it that the right people show up at such a convention. We can no longer accept business as usual, but we must be on top of our game, give up a little sleep and convenience.
Alaska, you deserve better than most of this crew and we’ll find better. This I vow to you on my honor.