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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2001

All Alaskans should benefit more

from wealth of permanent fund

Lets keep things in perspective. No shell games or musical chairs. One thousand million, 26 times is what we have ($26 billion). One year ago we had $28 billion. Tell it like it is.

We lost two thousand million ($2 billion) last year in the stock market, etc. The people of Alaska did not benefit at all from the money that was lost! If that amount were spent within the borders of Alaska certainly the quality of life for all citizens would have improved enormously, and we would still be in the position we are today with $26 billion in the permanent fund dividend.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the argument that the PFD is safe and the benefit to Alaskans is enough. Thats ridiculous! Believe that and I will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

We have around 600,000 Alaskans and $26 billion in our PFD. We are not getting proper use of that wealth. The quality of life of Alaskans does not reflect that well. This should change.

It is not good enough to just invest 1 percent of these funds in Alaska and 99 percent out of state; of that 99 percent, 16 percent is invested overseas.

The in-state investment is not enough. Largely those who are not Alaska citizens enjoy the benefit of this wealth. This is not fair; it must be changed. We must not tolerate this unfairness.

We must get our Legislature and those charged with the responsibility to correct this condition, or they should be replaced with those who would listen and respond to this. The citizens of Alaska should ask the right questions of these people who can do something about getting this unfairness changed.

We should not be arguing among ourselves about sales tax versus income tax versus PFD. When we do this, we are really beating each other up and losing sight of what is really being said. What pocket do I take your money out of? is what they are saying. The question really is: Why are we not getting the value of the wealth we already have? Why are we being asked for more and receiving less? It does not make sense! It makes one wonder who is serving whom?

They are pointing to investments by the state in Delta barley farms, fish ventures, etc., that did not turn out. This is true, but it is also true that these ventures were controlled by government not the private sector. This could be the reason.

The point is this wealth that belongs to the citizens of Alaska is unfairly benefiting those that are not we the people of Alaska. Ask the right questions and we could correct this; fail to ask them and it may get worse.

Ed Martin Sr., Cooper Landing



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