Find the answer

We are offering this website link again as a way for Alaskans to come up with solid answers in trying to find ways out of Alaska’s chronic budget dilemma.

The website was put together by Commonwealth North’s Fiscal Policy Study Group. It came up with this website to help Alaskans better understand the state’s fiscal mess, and it puts you in the captain’s chair, giving you a chance to come up with revenue and spending options to deal with Alaska’s chronic budget deficit – and a way to share your thoughts confidentially with legislators and Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

The state’s red ink is measured in billions of dollars, and with the legislative session starting in January, it is well beyond time to come up with some solid answers about how to grapple with the chronic problem – or at least fully grasp what lawmakers are up against.

Go to the website, take a hard look, explore the options, make the tough decisions and see if you can craft a solution.

Afterward, you will wonder why anybody would ever want to be a legislator.

One Response to Find the answer

  1. Randy S. Griffin November 21, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Thank you for this website link. It was very informative. The website gave explanations of many different Alaska government departments and programs and offered multiple choices to click on. I chose to cut quite a few things, and the tally meter followed along, but wound up still showing a state budget deficit – of $206 million.

    The website also provided a spot for me to make my own suggestion, and I wrote the following:

    Reduce the PFD to $20.

    But what about poor people who depend on a sizeable chunk of free money every year to tide them over? I suggest a new annual program called the Public Assistance Payment (PAP). It should be $1000. It would be open to everyone, but on the PAP application, it would ask people to please try to refrain from applying, unless you are poor and are having genuine financial difficulty. It would go on to explain about the budgetary shortfall that the state is currently struggling with.

    Hopefully, there would be far fewer applicants for the “PAP” than for the PFD. If only 100,000 Alaskans applied for the PAP, then this would only cost the state $100 million. This is much less than the $680 million that the state had to send out in PFD payments in 2020.

    Meanwhile, the 2021 PFD should be reduced to $20. This will cost the state only $12 million. The reason to reduce the PFD is because there is no surplus money to hand out. The word “dividend” generally implies that a company has a profit or surplus that it can hand out to shareholders, after overhead and other necessary expenses (debt payments, maintenance, and employees) have been paid.

    A “Public Assistance Payment”, is a more honest description of a cash payment to help those in need. A “PAP” does not pretend that there is a “surplus” but admits to the reality that savings must be drawn down, or other hardworking people must be taxed.

    Also, only $100 million should be appropriated by the legislature for the “PAP” annual payout program. If more than 100,000 people apply, then individual checks will start to become less than $1000. If less than 100,000 people apply, then checks will stay at $1000 apiece, but unclaimed money will be returned to the state’s general fund to help close the deficit.

    I also suggested we should get rid of collective bargaining for state workers. We should repeal or modify the Public Employment Relations Act (Alaska Statute 23.40.070).

    Reply

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