FAIRBANKS (AP) Municipal leaders from 65 Alaska communities say management of the $26 billion Alaska Permanent Fund should be modified and money used for public services.
That's the consensus among 250 people who attended an Alaska Municipal League conference in Nome to discuss the state's fiscal future.
''The thing that came most strongly out of the conference was support of a new management method for the permanent fund,'' Kevin Ritchie, executive director of the Alaska Municipal League, said Friday. ''There was a very strong emphasis on that this year.''
Ritchie summarized components of the league's stance on state fiscal issues. The policy statement was unanimously approved by delegates Friday afternoon, he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The meeting, an annual conference of local governments, took place Wednes-day through Friday. About 140 of the state's 161 municipalities belong to the league.
Ritchie said the league believes a state income tax may be needed to solve the state's fiscal problems and the state should not impose a sales tax.
That tax should be left to the municipalities.
The league is supporting the Percent of Market Value system of management for the permanent fund.
''We spent a lot of time talking about it,'' Ritchie said.
Under the system, the state would be able to access 5 percent of the total value of the permanent fund each year.
Some legislators are considering using half of that money for dividends and the other half for state services.
The municipal league platform supports use of permanent fund money for public services through a ''community dividend,'' Ritchie said.
Currently, the state has access only to fund earnings. Most of what doesn't get reinvested in the fund is spent on dividends.
Ritchie said the league also wants the state to attach fiscal notes reporting the cost to municipalities of the bills it considers.
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