Group launches campaign to defend permanent fund

Posted: Tuesday, April 09, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A group calling itself the 83% Coalition is launching what it says is a campaign to protect the Alaska Permanent Fund.

The name refers to the 83 percent of voters who rejected a 1999 ballot initiative that would have allowed the state to tap the permanent fund to fill the state budget gap.

Members say they are opposed to any use of the permanent fund to pay for state government. They are calling on the state to impose higher oil taxes to close the billion dollar budget gap.

The group includes Steve Conn of the Alaska Public Interest Research Group; Soren Wuerth of the Alaska Action Center; Jim Sykes of OilWatch Alaska; Republican Eddie Burke; Republican Moderate Ray Metcalfe and Green Party gubernatorial hopeful Desa Jacobsson.

The coalition held a news conference in Anchorage Tuesday and announced plans to lobby lawmakers and raise interest in the issue through newspaper ads and meetings with community groups.

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