Contributed by Steve St. Clair
As many Alaskans know, there is an 800 pound gorilla in the room and it is the budget woes of Alaska. Many have suggested plans that vary from increased taxes, PFD changes, and spending reductions. This is not a problem that was created overnight and not one that will be solved in one or two sessions.
Alaska’s income comes predominately from the monies collected from oil and gas taxes and royalties. The governor recently capped the dividend at $1000, when it should have been over $2000, as his plan to eliminate a $4+ billion deficit. The governor will only collect an estimated $750 million by capping the PFD. Because of the crash of the oil market, Alaska will collect $1.4 billion from the oil and gas royalties; this is insufficient to cover the bloated budget the governor and legislature want (even when the take money from different accounts).
So, what is the answer? Do we continue to cap the dividend via SB128? Do we implement new taxes? Do we instate an income tax? The answer to all these questions is no. Capping the dividend has been shown as the most damaging and regressive tax. New taxes are a band aid to excessive government spending and will increase the cost of goods, which are already high due to Alaska’s remote location. An income tax would only impact about one-third of working Alaskans and would punish those trying to better themselves. I believe an income tax will push those paying an income tax out of the state.
The answer is reducing the size of government to one that is constitutionally mandated and one that Alaska can afford. This is not going to be easy, but anything worth having is not easy. The governor and current legislature do not have the desire or will to significantly reduce the budget by making hard choices and following the Alaskan constitution. If you do not have a copy of the Alaskan constitution, your local Legislative Information Office (LIO) should have copies or you can find it online.
Senate Seat F is going to be vacated by retiring Sen. Bill Stoltze. There are three republican candidates running for this seat. Representative Shelley Hughes, Businessman Adam Crum and Citizen Activist Steve St.Clair. So who is the best candidate to keep Senate seat F in conservative control? That will be in the hands of the voters.
Here is my assessment: I am one of the candidates so I encourage you analyze the data listed below and email me for my sources and the rationale for my analysis:
Representative Shelley Hughes:
• Representative Hughes has taken credit for 16% reductions in the budget but 11% of those reductions were by the governor.
• Representative Hughes has voted 97% of the time on final passage of bills, with the establishment (the remaining 3% were excused absences).
• The 3 finance sub committees she co-chairs has reduced the budget by a combined 4.19 percent.
Businessman Adam Crum:
• Has never been involved in politics at the grassroots level. Has not voted in a city or borough election as far back as 2008,
• He is a co-owner of a business funded by state agencies and nonprofits. There is no incentive to reduce the size of government.
• A board member of Alaska Support Industry Alliance, which promotes positive relationships between oil companies and the government.
Citizen Activist Steve St.Clair
• Retired Military Police First Sergeant, 20+ years of selfless service defending the United States and our constitution.
• Former President and CEO of Conservative Patriots Group (CPG), at the time was the largest conservative organization in Alaska.
• Citizen activist who has been involved in the rallying the grassroots for a myriad of causes and co-author of the UFL budget.
On August 16th, Alaskans residing in Palmer, Fairview, Butte, Peters Creek, and Wasilla will have a choice to make. Do you vote for the person who can best help Alaska move a sustainable budget or vote for the continuation of big Alaska budgets?
It’s in your hands. I ask for your vote and support on August 16. Vote Steve St. Clair for Senate. Additional information can be obtained by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting my website at www.Steveforsenate.com.