Contributed by Beth Fread, Palmer AK
Most treasured Alaska business owners and leaders, we thank you for your patience, your understanding and your willingness to “stick it out” as Alaska’s political leadership works to increase the burdens upon your shoulders. We thank you for the jobs you provide, the services and products you convey and your investment in Alaska. We appreciate your efforts, your energy and the stoic way in which you soldier on in the battle to work for Alaska’s success.
We are sorry that we cannot afford to participate in commerce as fully as we have in the past. We understand your sense of responsibility as you weigh each penny you invest in delivering the services we need to maintain our health, welfare, happiness, entertainment and prosperity. You continue to develop access to Alaska’s resources, employ as many of us as possible, distribute our food and beverages, clothing, housing and our transportation choices.
Your charitable contributions are also deeply appreciated. We wish we could do more to aid you in your success, but Alaska is in a recession and we are all also feeling it. That is, all of us except those employed by and involved in governing us.
Many of us are just beginning to understand that our medical facilities and delivery systems, child rearing, educational systems, recreational preferences and areas, safety, some transportation modes and even our “independent” subsistence resources are controlled and/or managed by government. We are recognizing that many of those employed by and elected into government offices care little for those who do not. These are the people who want to add taxes to ours and your income, your and our properties and are working at increasing costs for our licenses, fees, fines and regulatory requirements.
We are beginning to recognize the fact that they have been and continue to place even more regulatory burdens upon our employers while sometimes trying to compete with those private sector businesses that support their (and our) employment. We see that they are not capable of succeeding in that competition, and we are sorry that we cannot control them.
In fact, despite our protestations and disagreement, government has gone so far as to claim our resource shareholder dividends (Permanent Fund) as their “revenues” and taxed more than 50% of it to line their own and their coworkers’ pockets with paychecks, per diem, travel and benefits.
The saddest part of this is that none of it is necessary. Alaska has between $12 and $16 billion in its reserves. Those Alaskan reserves were established to avoid having to go into Alaskan pockets. They were deliberately cached in order to carry us through the times when the cyclical nature of resource extraction becomes temporarily less profitable for all of us. But, it is the nature (and turnover) of government to not remember that those cycles rarely last more than ten years and those reserves are more than enough to carry us through this downward cycle.
We also appreciate and recognize our relatively few friends in government and we sympathize with their predicament. They are silenced by the attitudes and resulting poor treatment they receive from their coworkers and colleagues when they try to disagree with governmental activities.
The disingenuousness of Alaska’s current governmental leadership has led them to not tell the full story of the monetary stability of Alaska. The current governmental leaders do not care to acknowledge that in lean times you cut back. But, it isn’t their money they would preserve by cutting budgets; it’s yours and mine. So, they refuse to do the right thing and are continuing to go after the productive segments of society.
Therefore, we apologize for electing them and allowing them behind the wheel; we’ll try not to make the same mistake again. In the meantime time, thank you again for sticking with us. We depend upon you and we don’t acknowledge that often enough.