Many misunderstand HB 11

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I am writing this letter to explain House Bill 11. Apparently there has been some public misconception relating to this bill. HB 11 requires the state to deposit the constitutionally mandated 25 percent of all oil royalties into our permanent fund.

The Legislature independently, without a vote of the people, decided to put an additional 25 percent of the royalties from oil developed after 1980 into our permanent fund, which reflected the wealth of the state at the time.

The state no longer has any excess income. The Legislature is looking for ways to fund valuable services without heavily taxing our residents. HB 11 does not take any money out of the permanent fund; the extra 25 percent was like a bonus deposit.

The impact of HB 11 on your permanent fund dividend will be negligible. You will see no change in your permanent fund dividend in the next four years. Projections show that the total cumulative difference in your dividend over the next 10 years will be only $43. On the other hand, the state will benefit greatly having these oil revenues in the General Fund.

I have worked very hard to restore funding to our schools and the statewide Independent Living Centers. HB 11 will provide the needed dollars to fund these programs.

HB 11 would produce more than $40 million each year for the next 10 years. Please contact my office for the supporting data. Thank you for taking the time to review these facts and my position on HB 11.

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, is a freshman legislator representing District 35 in the Alaska State Legislature.

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