Community Perspective

Let’s have some facts about Alaska’s finances

Let’s look at some facts, as in, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.”

Fact: Gov. Mike Dunleavy campaigned on one issue, restoring our full PFDs that were “stolen” by Gov. Bill Walker. The permanent fund was set up as a rainy day fund for when revenues from oil would run out. The PFD was a bonus, not a “right.” To continue state services, the PFD had to be reduced these past few years to make ends meet — exactly what any household or business would do in similar situations.

Fact: Gov. Dunleavy promised he would restore all that money and not cut education, health care, or the ferry system.

Fact: Now as governor, Dunleavy is cutting everything he said he would not cut. He lied.

Fact: As a state legislator, Mr. Dunleavy was as lily-livered as the rest in not even suggesting, let alone promoting increasing revenues in any form, from oil company taxes to sales, income, or school taxes. He only wanted to cut the budget, but he never indicated what he would cut.

Fact: Richard “Dick” Randolph is the main reason we have not had an income tax since 1980. By eliminating our state income tax we have essentially given control of our state over to the oil companies. Just as not voting gives you no right to complain about the outcome, not paying taxes gives us no right to complain about how our state is run.

Fact: Contrary to Dick Randolph’s diatribe against the Alaska Constitution, it is regarded as one of the best state constitutions in the USA.

Fact: “You get what you pay for” is an apt adage. The oil companies have been paying our way for 39 years and they are in control; just look at how Senate Bill 21 was passed (two oil lobbyists were allowed to vote), resulting in us paying them to take our oil. Meanwhile, we residents haven’t paid a nickel and rightfully have little say in the outcome.

Fact: Alaska does not have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem. Relying on oil for our income is ludicrous; reserves are dwindling, but more importantly we have no control over the price of oil. We need to create stable, dependable sources of revenue. That means taxation. If we want good schools, good employment opportunities (the University of Alaska Fairbanks creates thousands of jobs in the Interior alone and was recently recognized as one of the top 10 small universities in the country), safety, health care, and comfortable and affordable senior care facilities, we need to pay for them.

Fact: Socialism is not a bad word. The extreme form of socialism, Marxism or communism, was a social experiment that collapsed under its own weight. Socialist programs are everywhere and need not be feared. They should be called universal programs, where everyone reaps the benefit of the program. K-12 education, Social Security and Medicare come to mind. As does the PFD.

Fact: Terrence Cole has dedicated his life to educating the world about the history of our state. His brother, Dermot, is one of the most truthful voices in the media about what is really happening in Alaska. His investigative journalism is of the highest caliber. That some folks don’t agree with him indicates they have not done the research he has.

Fact: The media, much maligned by our president, is just doing its job. Without them, we would only have the narratives of this side or that with no neutral mediator to get to the truth.

Fact: The Koch brothers, the prime source of the dark money behind our country’s political system, are in the game for only themselves. They realize it is easier by far to influence state politics than federal and are actively contributing to groups undermining the democratic process to promote their strictly pro-business, oligarchical agenda. Yes, they fund lots of charitable organizations, but they have billions and can afford to put up that benevolent front to hide their anti-government underbelly. Their clandestine workings, secretive meetings (filling out forms to attend a supposedly “public” set of state meetings on Dunleavy’s Roadshow) are danger signals to a truly democratic society. That our governor has aligned himself with this greedy network of billionaires is dangerous at its worst, distressing, to say the least.

Karl Monetti lives in North Pole.

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