Fiscal plan should be Legislature's first priority; any delay is stall tactic
It seems imperative for the welfare of all Alaskans to launch a workable fiscal plan -- as a first priority of any legislative action this year.
Our schools are threatened. Public safety of Alaska could suffer. Public health could decline. Such threats seem to forecast turmoil in the next year or so for my Alaska neighbors and I, if the Legislature fails to initiate a reasonable fiscal plan for support of essential services this year.
Don't calls for cutting spending seem to be nothing but stalling tactics? Especially since funding revenues are needed before legislative budgeting.
Several proposed solutions are before the Legislature to avoid a looming, catastrophic need to divert most of the permanent fund dividend and other funds to emergency expenditures. If nothing is done, solutions are ignored, couldn't such inaction, or delay, result in turning over all your PFD?
Call your legislators (they have "800" numbers), e-mail, fax or use conventional mail, to urge they adopt a reasonable fiscal plan this year.
James E. Fisher
Message to legislators: Tax oil, not Alaskans
In 1974, Saudi established "OPEC-Terms," an oil tax-rate equaling 80 to 85 percent of profits.
In 1998, Phillips paid $250 million for drilling rights in Kazakhstan. The contract allows Phillips to keep about 17 percent of profits. Kazakhstan keeps about 83 percent.
Alaska's Prudhoe Bay severance tax rate is 15 percent and Alaska's royalty is 12.5 percent. The feds take 24 percent.
All other government charges combined, our oil companies keep about 43 percent of profits from the sale of our oil -- over twice what they accept in places with higher risk.
Over the last 25 years, Kuwait produced about the same amount of oil as Alaska.
Even though Kuwait has 350,000 more citizens than Alaska, each Kuwaiti receives between $10,000 and $16,000 in annual dividends and Kuwait's permanent fund is 10 times bigger than ours. All from a similar amount of oil!
What's wrong with this picture?
People owing their political existence to oil companies dominate our Legislature.
They are planning to raise your taxes and cut your services to balance the budget; unfortunately, there isn't enough money in the pockets of Alaskans to balance the budget.
Alaska could double its income from oil by managing our resources in a manner consistent with world markets. If we don't, this state is destined for bankruptcy.
If we start before the oil runs out, we can grow our permanent fund to the size necessary to continue to pay dividends and fund government from its earnings.
But it won't happen unless we deliver the message. Tax oil not me!
Ray Metcalfe, chair
Republican Moderate Party
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