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Last updated
Sept 15, 1999
Election Results
Save Your PFD
Sept 14, 1999
Who is paying
for YES vote
Table Of Contents
More Letters to editors of Alaskan Papers:


Dividend helps local economy

In response to the Sept. 2 Compass piece by Dr. John Gerster: In his list of fallacies he addressed I do not agree with the ending statement of fallacy No. 2. He states that since most people either splurge and buy a ticket to Hawaii, which means the money goes Outside, or save their dividend. He states that dividend dollars do not contribute much to the economy of the state. Dr. Gerster must not go to any department or chain store or even Costco, for that matter, after the second week of October. If he did, I believe he would see with his own eyes that dividend money contributes greatly to the economy of the state, more than what is used for travel or savings.

Gary Passey



Government costs too much

I just voted no by absentee ballot on the Legislature's request for approval to tap the Permanent Fund. I realize that we all must pay our share for government-provided services, but the best way to do this is to first cut government expenses down to the essentials, then institute taxes to pay for them. This is hard for our representatives to do, because cutting expenses and raising taxes are actions that may cost them votes.

Every time we pay a tax, it's a reminder of how much government is costing us. Vote no Tuesday to force the Legislature to make those hard decisions.

Mike Miller



Income tax is best way

The state of Alaska is now experiencing a budget situation I have dealt with all of my life in which the outflow of money exceeds the income, with no foreseeable change in the future. When you're in that kind of position and happen to have a big chunk of money in the bank which you've been saving something big and you hit a temporary run of hard times, it is tempting and easy to dip into that savings to manage your daily budget. You promise yourself you'll put it back as soon as things get better, but your income/outflow situation never really changes, and you slowly whittle that "big chunk" of money down to nothing and now you have a budget to run without that "big chunk" in the bank.

If, as all the predictions seem to say, we will be paying taxes in the future anyway, I would rather pay taxes and have that "big chunk" of money still being invested, still making billions. The oil money will run out. The Permanent Fund doesn't have to. And the only way to tax fairly is not to have everyone pay the same amount, but the same relative amount, based on their income.

Jay Bell



Let's see the entire budget

A perfect example of why there is a deficit is the advisory election itself. It could have been done much cheaper by a mail-in ballot. Why do anything cheaper when they can spend, spend, spend? $14,000 is spare change to them.

The wastrels (state government) are running around like chickens with their heads cut off screaming the sky is falling and it's a Rainy Day! Oil prices are up again and seem stable for now. If this is a Rainy Day, where will we turn when the real flood comes?

Along with many other citizens, I would really like to see the entire state budget printed in the Daily News or in a publication mailed directly to voters. I would like to know where the money is going, every single penny, right down to the price of a pencil. They are terrified the budget might get published and made available to the voters. Ask yourselves why before you vote. Could it be it would show their past and present corruption and waste, and that there is absolutely no need to raid the Permanent Fund at this time?

My vote is a resounding NO. No other state spends as much as we do per capita, $10,000 per person, and has less to show for it. If this state cannot learn to live within its means, or employ other sources like many of the fine ideas I've seen in the letters to the editor lately, they never will be able to balance the budget.

Every single vote counts. Make sure to get out and vote no Tuesday.

C.J. Kukoski



Sales tax is not regressive

In the Compass article on Sept. 2 Dr. John Gerster offers several simple, easy-to-understand, incorrect ideas. Let me address the shortest, No. 3, where he says of a sales tax: "It is the most regressive of taxes."

A tax is where a level of government takes some of your income and appropriates it for its own use. A regressive tax is one that takes a higher percentage of total income from those with low incomes. While a sales tax is the same tax rate for both rich and poor, the wealthier people will be able to both spend more and save more than poor people. The wealthy will therefore pay more dollars in sales taxes than the poor (because they buy more stuff) but they pay a smaller percentage of their total income on taxes because they can also save more money, and it doesn't get taxed (by the state) unless it is spent. A sales tax is regressive, but the most regressive? Let's compare that to the ballot proposal.

The ballot proposal would take the same number of total dollars from everyone. If you earn $10,000 in a year, and Dr. Gerster earns $100,000, and you are both taxed the same number of tax dollars, you are paying at a rate that is 10 times higher than Dr. Gerster. Now that's what I call regressive!

One nice point about a sales tax is that it would also tax tourists and out-of-state workers. But I don't favor a tax at all. I think the best solution would be to replace the spendthrifts in Juneau with some folks who are a little more financially savvy. So let's make the special election the first of many no votes we give to this crew.

P.S. I was pleased to see that Sen. Dave Donley is not a Yes man!

Mark Beaudin



Yes campaign misleading

The "Vote Yes" committee is certainly applying the pressure. I am one who was recently polled. I said that I favor a "no" vote. Then I was asked if I realized that, if the measure is defeated, the Permanent Fund would be gone in three or four years. The caller couldn't explain how that could happen, and I sure can't see it. Even if the full general fund budget were to come out of the Permanent Fund completely, it would take considerably longer than three or four years to spend it all. Then, on top of Permanent Fund use, we are going to have a personal income tax as well. There is no explanation for this, either.

I fail to see the logic behind a "yes" vote. Permanent Fund dividend reduction to fund state government is regressive taxation that only helps the rich. If personal-income taxation is necessary, the only equitable solution is a progressive tax, whereby we all pay according to our means. I agree with Gov. Knowles on this point, at least. I can view legislative reluctance in this only as hypocrisy and cowardice. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Joseph Koss



State should improve service

All the talk and advertisements asking us to give up a portion of our checks to support state government is a waste of breath. I do not know how many people on the Vote Yes committee have ever actually dealt with a variety of the state's agencies, but I know firsthand that the ones I deal with are poorly run, inefficient and ineffective. It is a very - no, an extremely - rare occasion that a state employee in the agencies I deal with cares at all about the people they are supposed to be helping. Until the state can start operating its many agencies, like the University of Alaska Anchorage and Child Support Enforcement, more effectively and with an improved, customer-service-oriented attitude they won't get a penny of my Permanent Fund check!

Jeannett Crawford



Fat cats protecting wallets

There is so much disinformation in the media right now on the PFD budget vote that even the most informed voter should be confused. Some legislators and some politicos say "vote no," others say "vote yes." With the reasons being given for each argument, someone is plainly lying!

However, the fat cats say "vote yes," and why would they do that? There seems to be no reason other than to protect their pocketbooks. I believe that is the crux of the issue. Each voter should ask as he/she approaches the polls on Sept. 14: "What's in it for those who want me to vote yes, and what's in it for me if I vote no?"

A no vote will get the truth out in the open because then the governor and the Legislature must craft a fiscally responsible plan and make it available for public review. A yes vote lets them do whatever they want without anyone being the wiser.

Your PFD and those of your family members are what are at risk Tuesday. You, as a voter, can make a difference!

Richard Hahn



Legislature needs better plan

Using the Permanent Fund to fund government makes perfect sense if only the Legislature made perfect sense. In the history of mankind, once a government has gotten its hands on extra money (Alberta and Louisiana, for example; they had oil funds), it has spent it on more "necessary" amenities "for" the public (read, constituency). Since the outcome of the vote is very likely to be no, the Legislature had better be thinking about what to do next, grow some backbone, and be specific on what they plan to do about the deficit. Even "taking a portion" of the earnings of the fund will not balance the budget. Some kind of tax is needed to maintain the status quo. The government will never be satiated, as long as there is that pile of money out there to be tapped, given the tacit "approval" of the people.

We are probably in a no-win situation. The state needs the money (or so it is assumed), but the people we elect to handle it, as a body, cannot be trusted to use it wisely. We will go broke either way without spending reductions and/or a tax.

Richard White



Oil prices negate fund tap

Soon we will vote on the PFD question. Keep a few things in perspective. We are at this point as the result of a budgetary shortfall that was projected many months ago. The projection was made at a low point in oil-barrel prices. It did not materialize, and presently we are seeing oil-barrel prices that are very high. (I hear mention of a 10-year peak.) Perhaps we should re-project our revenue and find that we might be facing a surplus. I say that we have been misinformed (at best) or lied to by the people presenting this issue. Even if the price hadn't rebounded so quickly we have a budget reserve to cover just such peaks and troughs in oil prices. This reserve should be sufficient to allow us to adjust our spending according to oil prices over a period of years, not the period of weeks or months that we are seeing our "elected officials" react to.

Permanent Fund: Repeat that several times. Then break it down into its parts: "Permanent" and "Fund." As in, "This is a fund that will continue to exist into the very distant future," hopefully, so that all who reside in Alaska may benefit from it. How much more plainly visible could the intentions of our forefathers be?

Why are we even facing this vote, which may appropriately be called a false vote? The problem that brought the vote about no longer exists (i.e., low oil-barrel prices). We already have a reserve in place to cover temporary shortfalls. Throwing money (our money, our Permanent Fund money) at a long-term deficit is not a solution, it only delays the problem. What we should do is recall or not re-elect "elected officials" who
1) present false issues,
2) present false solutions,
3) can't figure out what "Permanent" really means,
4) react to the present as opposed to planning for the future.

I urge you to please remember which officials support this vote, and then kick them out of office as soon as possible by recall or not re-electing them.

Dan Reed



Let me spend my PFD first

I have lived in Alaska for more than 40 years because I like it. I went to elementary school, high school and college here; and oh, by the way, I worked here also. Ever since I started receiving my PFD, I have spent every penny of it right here, and I think that most other Alaskans have also. I have to admit that I enjoy getting that check every year so I can buy things that I need.

There is no reason that Juneau has to stick its hands into my pocket now. Wait until I spend it first. That's why I say to everyone, vote no in this coming election.

George C. Williams



'No' vote sends right message

With all the scare tactics and complex analysis on both sides of the "Yes/No" debate, I think folks have lost sight of how simple and obvious the vote really is.

In the last general election, a Legislature and governor were hired to do a job. Among the things they were hired to do were to create a responsible state budget, resolve the subsistence-fishing issue, monitor significant business issues such as the BP Amoco purchase of the Atlantic Richfield Co., etc. A "yes" vote says, "You folks are doing a great job! Keep up the great work." A "no" vote says, "This is your first and only written warning. Do what you were hired to do or we'll get someone else."

Lynn Hursh



Legislators must lead

Our elected representatives have shown that they are much more concerned with maintaining their personal power and authority than the needs of the state and people of Alaska. The advisory vote is nothing more then a poll being conducted at our expense. With this the politicians have abdicated their responsibility.

We sent our elected representatives to Juneau to make these decisions based on their espoused principles. If there is a budget crisis, then it is time for them to lead, to take back their responsibility and make the decisions we hired them to make. They need to forget that any decision made may cost them the next election. We chose them to serve us, not to provide them with a career.

Most of us do not have the time to fully research the finances of the state and are limited to the information presented by the press. We are counting on our legislators to make appropriate and sound decisions based on facts rather than rhetoric. I ask them to please, for our sake, forget the personal consequence and the special interests and decide to solve this issue, and not hide behind a meaningless and nonbinding "vote" to protect their careers. They should make the decision they believe to be right based on their principles and let history judge.

Fredrick G. May

Eagle River


Not voting seems best

A special advisory vote on use of the Permanent Fund earnings will soon be on the ballot. The question as stated is fairly straightforward and can hardly be answered with a no vote. The creation of the Permanent Fund and intent on use of the earnings is clear within current law. The question needs no answer from the citizens of Alaska.

What is not specific in the law, and necessarily so, is when should the earnings be used to help support state government? Why couldn't the Legislature have asked that question?

Another item not specific in the law is the mechanism of determining the amount of Permanent Fund earnings to be used. Why couldn't the Legislature have asked that question?

I can't vote no on this question because it is clear to me that this was the intent of the creation of the Permanent Fund, but I also feel (and very strongly) that a yes vote will be used as an endorsement for the Balanced Budget Plan incorporated into the ballot language. This plan is not the best plan, maybe not even a good plan, for the citizens of Alaska. If this ballot question is approved and this plan fails to produce a reasonable use of the earnings, I do not want to be accused by my legislator of recommending such action. I want my legislator to make those decisions without the voters being the fall guy when it doesn't work out. I must avoid voting on this one. I hope everyone else does also and tells their legislators why.

Richard Renninger



Fund is biggest expenditure

It was a sad day when legislators figured out they could buy the people's vote with the people's money. A perfect example of this is the Permanent Fund dividend program. This particular example of pork-barrel politics could have been more accurately called the Ultimate Vote Buying Program.

Voters expect a lot. They expect free teachers and schools. They expect new roads - plowed year-round. Voters expect the worn-out roads to be replaced after they ruin them by speeding with studded tires. Some voters expect a longevity bonus. The list goes on and on. And now voters expect all that plus dividend checks and no tax increases. Voters need to get a clue! Money doesn't grow on trees for the government any more that it does for you or me.

In order to buy all the things that Alaska voters expect next year, it appears the state will spend 2.3 billion bucks - not including the PFD distribution. If that is rightly included as a spending item it swells the budget to well over $3 billion!

The Ultimate Vote Buying Program sent out 557,820 checks totaling $859,533,681.60 last year. That does not include administrative overhead or costs associated with litigation by people who want the PFD but didn't get it. In fact, the PFD would be the largest single expenditure - far exceeding the second-largest item: $779,700,000 to be spent on K-12 education.

It is not possible to cut the other guy's programs while not touching our favorites. Likewise, it is not possible to tax only that elusive other guy. Rest assured, those other guys are us. In short, it makes absolutely no sense to talk about balancing the budget when the largest spending program - accounting for 27 percent of spending - is not even on the table. That's why I'm voting yes Tuesday.

Talmadge Bailey



State ownership's the answer

One idea that can solve the state's funding shortfall - to have the PFD continue to grow into thousands of dollars for Alaskans, add money for municipalities, even reduce or eliminate property tax - is not getting any real press coverage. This idea is state ownership: the state buys the Arco portion of oil interests in Alaska. Nick Begich has hit on the best-of-both-worlds idea but I don't see anyone talking about it in letters to the editor. Instead we are debating how much money to give up - PFD, income tax, sales tax - all money we have to give up. Come on, folks, state ownership solves all these problems and no one gives up anything - in fact, all parties get more money.

For full details on this very good idea all you need do is read the short proposal on the Web - it's a very smart and profitable idea. The address is www.alaskabackbone.com - then click on Nick Begich Argues for State Ownership.

Please read this, because it's the best solution ever proposed. Some may say that the law doesn't allow for this - well, change it. The state made the laws and it can change the laws; it's been done before. The legislators can create whatever environment needed to get this thing going. Read the proposal and then write or call your legislators and tell them to at least do the math. When you do the math there is no way you can say no. It's an offer you can't refuse. Wouldn't it be nice to have a "too much money problem" rather than the "too little money problem" we have all faced forever? The only problems we'll face is the influx of people for the huge PFDs. At that point, talking about a cap makes sense.

This is the answer!

Steve Kelly



Webmaster Notes:

Thank You for all your response and support in this campaign

Please get out and vote NO


Supporters of Vote


Elected officials
  • Gov. Jay Hammond
  • Sen. Dave Donely
  • Sen. Lyda Green
  • Sen. Rick Halford
  • Sen. Robin Taylor
  • Sen. Jerry Ward
  • Rep Mary Sattler Kapsner
  • Rep Vic Kohring
  • Rep. Bev Masek
  • Rep Scott Ogan
  • Rep Jerry Sanders
  • Doyle Holmes, Assby.
  • Mayor Sarah Palin
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