Challenge: Find other financial resources, protect permanent fund

Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Dear Creative-Thinking Alaskans:

I challenge creative thinking from Alaskans to find other financial resources for the state rather than depleting our permanent fund!

First, just forget using the permanent fund's resources!

Second, put your thinking caps on! I am certain that Alaskans can think of alternate ways that the state can create an income to cover expenses, even more than the state dreamed we would find!

For example:

The state of Florida charges about 6 percent for a newspaper purchased in a store. Those who buy the newspapers out of the news boxes or have newspapers delivered to their home don't pay the fee! These funds add up. The state receives these monies for its use. Tourists purchase many of the newspapers from convenience stores, hotels, grocery stores and so on. This does not take money directly out of Alaskans' pockets; using the permanent fund's money does!

Another idea might be to charge 2 percent as an add-on tax for souvenirs purchased during the summer months. The cruise ships stop in ports and everyone buys gifts and items to take home. These monies would not be taken directly from the Alaskans' pockets but would help the state gain an income for our needs.

What about raising the out-of-state sportsmen's fishing license by $3 or $4? I don't think this would stop anyone from fishing here, do you?

As I see it, taking an average of the last five years of the fund, would give the state the greatest possible 5 percent value near term. I say this as last year's monies were not as high as a few years back.

The risk of taking the permanent fund money is ultimately damaging!

The 5 percent taken from the permanent fund can move up to 6 percent next year or in a year or two, then 8 percent, then 15 percent. Eventually, the dollars that each Alaskan receives would diminish! The point is to find other ways to create an income for the state! Don't touch the permanent fund!

Have you ever heard of a state decreasing costs and returning monies? Rarely, at best!

I believe that Alaskans have creative minds! Alaskans can do this! Let's do it! Let's all think up ways for the state without touching this precious fund! I challenge Alaskans' representatives as well!

Feel free to e-mail these ideas to the governor. All suggestions are good! Don't hesitate because you think your thought is not as good as the next guys. If every family came up with one idea, think of all the income the state could receive!

Gov. Frank Murkowski is open-minded and eager for our suggestions!

Give this a try! What do you have to lose?

Frances E. Johnson, North Kenai

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