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Watch out for 'the majority'

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2004

When going to the polls, we often make the mistake of voting for people with the cutest ads or most air time. Is this really the best way to make important decisions that will affect Alaskans for many years to come? Maybe we should stop listening to campaign rhetoric and look at voting records. If we find the incumbent does not represent our views then do not re-elect them! Lets try the challengers and see what they can do. Then, in a few years we can look closely at them and make the same decision all over again. This is how we elect good representatives, not by voting for some party or another.

For example, the Republican majority has been following Governor Murkowski's lead by promoting the POMV scheme as a way to open up the Permanent Fund for government spending (HJR 26), and by reducing royalty payments going into the Permanent Fund (HB 11).

Did they collectively forget the 1999 special election, where 83 percent of Alaskans voted against government spending the Permanent Fund? Have those numbers changed in five years? Recent surveys conducted by the Alaska Voters Organization suggest they have not. Results of those surveys can be seen at www.akvoters.org.

The majority keeps voting for capital and operating budgets that require borrowing money to balance. They also voted to increase business license fees by 400 percent (HB 162) and vehicle registration fees by up to 200 percent (HB 170). They also pushed through a 15 percent rental car tax (HB 271), and then turned around and voted in favor of tax breaks for oil companies (HB 16, HB 57, HB 61, HB 216, and SB 185). Republicans also supported legislation making it more difficult for citizens to petition state government (HJR 5), elimination of the Longevity Bonus Program for seniors (SB 117), and a $1 increase for each pack of cigarettes (SB 1001). It's all in their voting record at www.ak-voters.org/watchdog.htm, with links to official state documents.

In summary, the Republican majority supports permanent fund raids, taxes on ordinary citizens, reduced opportunity for the public to petition state government, and tax breaks for big companies. If you agree with this voting record, then elect more Republicans. If not, try a new direction, it's that simple!

When voting on Nov. 2, we must choose wisely. Make sure your candidate can be trusted to do what's best for Alaska, not cater to special interest groups, political parties, or bigger government.

Mike McBride , North Kenai



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