How do we strike the balance for State services, PFD?

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By NILS ANDREASSEN

Thank you for opening up a dialogue and inviting others to contribute.

[Read: This is the year for no PFD. Change my mind.]

What I really appreciated about your column on the State’s fiscal picture is that it really helps to lay out the situation the State finds itself in.

For as much as we’ve been facing a deficit for five years, this combination of oil and market drop, along with economic contraction as a result of the coronavirus, puts the State in a very challenging position.

I think you accurately and effectively describe what is a very likely scenario – that the State is very close to essentially being unable to pay for itself. 

That scenario also includes a PFD that is essentially zero. In fact, it may be that even with no PFD, the State is still at a deficit. It’s a necessary conversation but difficult. 

Part of the challenge, and maybe not articulated directly, is that while the fund source for the PFD is healthy and sustainable, it is how to fund government that remains questionable. This is essentially where Alaska Municipal League has called for new revenue, including in the form of broad-based taxes. 

I can imagine there will always be at least two extremes. One, where no tax is a good tax. The other, where there has never been enough money for government. I can’t agree with you that AML lands at the latter.

What we struggle with is that the State does have some fundamental responsibilities, and that also there is increasing unmet need. For us, it is not that there has never been enough money for government, but that there has been insufficient funding at the State level to adequately fulfill Constitutional and statutory obligations. 

That means that even during the salad days, the State was still not fully funding school construction and major maintenance. In fact, over the last decade, these needed projects have only been funded at 15% on average.

Even with a zero PFD, will the roof that is collapsing on the school in St. Paul be funded? It’s not in the budget. Nor are the dozens of other projects that are identified as priority by the Department of Education. 

In terms of unmet need, we know that there is nearly $2 billion in State deferred maintenance, $1 billion in need for ports and harbors, $2.3 billion for school construction and maintenance, $5 billion in transportation projects, $3 billion in maintenance and construction needs for municipal governments, and $2 billion in need for water and wastewater. 

It’s easy to look at that list and say that the State can’t be all things to everyone, or that someone else should pay for them, or that the State can’t subsidize one part of the state and not the other. Except that these are fundamentally government responsibilities – shared between federal, state and local – but the role of the State is to tackle issues that are systemic.

The question in front of us is not whether we can pay a PFD, but whether the State has sufficient resources to address not only its basic functions, and to chip away at unmet needs, but to fulfill essential roles during a crisis. The State has an FY20 Supplemental Budget that reflects a difficult fire season, and the year before that response to earthquake. Does the State have the resources necessary to respond in times of need?

There is definitely an argument to be made that the PFD distributed in full this year would act as an economic stimulus after a dismal travel and tourism season.

We know that Alaskans are going to be negatively impacted during this time, and that economists nationally are talking specifically about a cash infusion. I don’t know what the right answer is, and AML has not taken a position on a PFD amount.

That said, we do know that reducing or eliminating the PFD is a regressive action that affects our most vulnerable disproportionally. That, during a time when they may be most vulnerable. 

Talking taxes isn’t out of line in this environment. In fact, the earlier we can discuss an appropriately designed broad-based tax, the better. We’re talking about a development and implementation time of as long as two years. We want that process to be driven by data, so that policy-makers know exactly what impacts look like. Tax doesn’t have to be emotional – many local governments are required by State law to tax, which may be why we’re more comfortable focusing on how to do it right. 

I’m happy to be part of a difficult dialogue. I don’t think there are any easy answers. I do believe that our members and your readers benefit from a collaborative approach. How do we strike the right balance in meeting the State’s needs and the interests of Alaskans? How do we do that by working together?

Nils Adreassen is executive director of Alaska Municipal League, but is writing in his capacity as an Alaska.

42 COMMENTS

  1. The second bulletin point for the AML states in part “Support policies that reduce tax burdens”. Of course the first obviously intentionally misreads Alaska Constitution’s mandate “to provide for maximum local self-government”, and simply disregard the part it doesn’t believe in. Maximum local self-government doesn’t mean to have the maximum amount of government, but that government should be local to the maximum extend possible. In fact Article 10 section 1 says “The purpose of this article is to provide for maximum local self-government with a minimum of local government units, and to prevent duplication of tax-levying jurisdictions.”
    .
    Why is the AML calling for more taxation? They want to grow government, they are using a bastardized understanding of the Alaska Constitution to push for more taxation, against their published Principles.

    • ‘We of the Alaska Munincipal League care about our most vulnerable citizens. That’s why we advocate taking their PFD and the fruit of everyone’s labor with the threat of force’. Go sell your snake oil somewhere else.

  2. As I’ve said before, a state tax would be much more fair, not to mention legal, than the PFD theft.

    • Only if it is a Sales Tax if it is an Income Tax it is unfair to have only workers support a Tax. Sales Tax spreads the burden across all not some.

      • Many claim that they would agree to a state income tax, if the PFD was eliminated. If the PFD were to be eliminated, they would just find another excuse to vote against a state income tax.

      • CoronaVirus year = full PFD payout + money held back by Bill Walker. Emergency PFD to all qualified Alaskans. Payout by May 1 to stimulate the Alaska economy. This is an emergency.

  3. The problem of this discussion is that it presents a false dichotomy, the PFD vs. the budget. Look at the obvious, state programs, constitutionally mandated or not, demand people. I don’t have the exact amount but it’s likely to say that at least 75% of the state operating budget is for personnel. Other than past profligacies, the unrecognized, undiscussed, unavoidable elephant in the room is the cost of state personnel.

  4. Dear MRA Readers: To whom are you now looking to find cures for the current virus threat? And to find and distribute an eventual vaccine? And to support the economy as it starts to crash around you? And to support the medical system in the time of great need?

    Yes, it’s Government. Big, bad, wasteful Government. Face it – modern society requires effective, capable, and well-funded Government to allow it to function properly. Those who believe that “it should be small enough to drown it in a bathtub”, may finally, in this time of crisis, realize that they have been deluded by those who sell this dangerous philosophy. Perhaps the day of conversion is at hand. It certainly seems have arrived for Trump, who now has to lean on the same Deep State apparatus that he has so callously disparaged and dismantled in the past.

    You can’t buy a non-existent vaccine with a PFD…

    • False on all counts. Who is developing vaccines at record pace? Private industry freed from regulatory shackles, not the CDC or FDA. The bloated former has wasted billions trying to address criminological and behavioral issues rather than leaning down and focusing on its rational mandate: bacteriological, viral, and phagic communicable diseases. The latter bloated organization busied itself trying to dictate personal choices about smoking and pushing documentedly wrong nutrition information, while crippling private industry’s ability to bring drugs to market.

      Note all the regulations, all the nonsense bureaucratic red tape, that have been discarded for expediency, those are evidence those regulations, and far more like them, created by sluggish, parasitic, and unresponsive bureaucracies, are unnecessary, if not actively harmful. Note even the “minor” virtue-signalling and, big picture, ecologically useless plastic bag bans have forced the use of “reuseable shopping bags,” which are documentedly worse for the environment and public health disease control than those plastic bags.

      Note the push to urbanize even more intensely creates a perfect population for disease transmission. And the constant demonization of private transportation choices forces that crowded, urbanized populace into the disease-ridden stew of public transportation. Every single Progressive / Left prescription makes situations like this worse, not better. Yet you grasping petty tyrants simply cannot resist the Alinsky-ite proscription to “never let a crisis go to waste” to try to impose your moronic authoritarian fantasies on the rest of us.

      Sod off, Swampy.

      • Tell it like it is! All the apprentice control freaks think that anything not expressly permitted, is prohibited.

    • Ya the problem is The State just doesn’t have enough money. It’s that simple Dear Readers. Think about that while your on layoff. Or your business is going bankrupt. Effective Government? Effective at what? Gas lines to nowhere? Empty Ferries? Droning weddings on the other side of the world in decades long wars? If these examples aren’t proper functionality then it must have been due to lack of money. Guess what, THE MONEY’S ALL GONE, SO TAX AWAY!

    • President Trump’s greatest problem in responding to the coronavirus gaslighting operation has been that he has not been able to “dismantle” enough of the Deep State apparatus. Because of “resistance” from the Democrats in the Senate to confirmations and slow-rolling of other appointments by the federal personnel systems, he has only a thin veneer of people appointed by his administration and who have any loyalty to his programs and objectives. Most of the people below the White House and the Cabinet officers and some of their direct reports, almost everyone in the federal government was appointed or promoted by the Clinton and Obama Administrations.

      My time in government, both State and federal, but mostly State, taught me to be very distrustful of long-time political appointees. Surviving a transition if you’re anywhere near political authority is a real test of your principles. I only did it once and that was early in my career when I had a couple of levels of supervision between me and political appointees. I didn’t survive long as a direct report in the transition from Hickel to Knowles. I went back to the Executive Branch in the last days of Knowles, but most of the Knowles people had seen the writing on the wall and were trying to act like “born again” Republicans. I didn’t even try to survive the transition from Murkowski to Knowles or Palin. I decided that retiring was better than working for either of them.

      Outside the military and law enforcement there is no culture of attacking problems in government at any level. Even dedicated, apolitical technocrats and bureaucrats have learned to survive by only doing what you’re told by political authority and to only speak when you are asked by political authority. Assuming the doctors and scientists had an inkling of the issues with coronavirus don’t underestimate the extent to which they took their professional lives in their hands to pass the information up through the layers of bureaucracy between them and the Cabinet and the White House. In my days as a fairly skilled subject matter expert, I well knew what happened to that memo you wrote to try to alert the Governor to some issue when it had to go through a supervisor or deputy director, a director, a deputy commissioner, a commissioner, a special assistant to the Governor, and the chief of staff before something maybe resembling the memo you wrote got to the Governor. The federal government works the same way, but worse.

      • Addendum: http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/fileadmin/LaborRelations/pdf/representationrevised.pdf

        The linked memo remains the State’s policy guidance on its dealings with union stewards and paid representatives. I first wrote something like that memo when I was a Labor Relations Analyst in the classified service in early 2000. The Alaska State Employees Association was driving the Administration they thought they’d bought and paid for crazy with guerilla theater and attacks even on Democrat appointees. The new commissioner who’d hired me back from working for the Legislature asked me to write a memo setting out the State’s rights and duties. My director knew that the commissioner had asked me for it directly but insisted that it go through her. By that time I was a pretty wily ‘crat so I just pushed a copy over the transom to the commissioner but I sent the formal copy through the chain.

        There is nothing in that memo that is at all controversial; it is relying on black letter law; I knew who I was working for. The director took the memo to her deputy commissioner who was a union made man. The two of them took the memo to the head of ASEA. He and his concieglieri couldn’t find anything legally or contractually wrong with it, but they didn’t think “it sends the right message.” In other words, how dare the State tell its supervisors and managers their rights in dealing with his thugs.

        So, rather than send out the memo, the State and the union “partnered” in spending uselessly a couple of million dollars of State and Federal funding in doing a dog and pony show called joint Supervisor-Union Steward training which was the biggest waste of time, energy, and money on doing something utterly foolish and unnecessary I’ve ever seen. After the Democrats all went away in early ’03, I became manager and later director of labor relations, and one of the first things I did was issue the memo to all supervisors and managers. I did run it past my commissioner who said something like, why are you asking me; this is your stuff.

    • Whidbey, your ignorance is astounding. Do you live with your mom, or are you just a pathetic trust child? Dunleavy is going to be a hero when he mails out full PFD checks next month. People can eat. Pay their rent. YOU can go back to your drugs.

      • Dear Naomi – Thank you for the witty ad hominem attack. Your true character really shines through. For your information, I’m a long-time Alaskan who worked for decades in the Alaska oil industry, saved my money, paid my taxes, invested, and am now very nicely retired. Sorry to deflate the twisted image you apparently had of me.

        Now, sweetie, hadn’t you better be getting back to your desperate Tinder swiping?

        • Whidbey,

          How are things down in Washington? My aunt lives there and says it’s pretty nuts. Do you have toilet paper down there, there’s been a run on it here the last couple weeks.

          • Well, Steve-O, you’ll find out soon enough, as Alaska is about two weeks behind Washington State’s curve – except that we’ll have flowers blooming, and you’ll still be hunting for TP in the snow…

          • I’m guessing Whidbey is a her, because most men wouldn’t get snarky with a woman in the comment section, calling her “sweetie”.
            And usually, only an Alaskan would think to eagle proof a small breed dog yard.
            Pampered Pooch Dog Day Care? Hot? Warm? Cold? 🙂

  5. I would take exception to a few points in this essay. First, why is the state liable for the $3billion of maintenance of the municipalities? If the municipalities built beyond their ability to properly maintain and perform needed major renovations, why is it the responsibility of the state (remember it is not state money, it is the citizens money) including those not living inside the municipality? As for utilities, water and sewer, these are supposed to be user supported. If the water company needs upgrades, they need to issue revenue bonds and pay it out of proceeds. Or, heavens forbid, they put the needed money aside over time to take care of the upgrades and improvements.

    As far as the school in St. Paul, this is a school of 30,000 square foot and an administration building of 2,400 sq. foot. All of this for an average over the last 7 years of less than 60 students. That’s 3 classrooms worth. I think there needs to be a reckoning for insisting the state maintain excess space.

  6. The following is an excellent article about the PFD. Alaska’s Last Stand: The PFD written by Jonathan Faulkner, District Chair, accomplished author and Alaska Businessman. Also can be seen on http://www.TheAlaskaPFD.com

    Alaska’s Last Stand: The Permanent Fund Dividend
    By Jonathan Faulkner

    Every nation’s resource wealth belongs to its people. Unless that wealth is shared and saved, it is squandered by those in power. Politicians not only spend every penny they take from us, but they borrow from our future, and continually ask for more.

    Alaska is at a juncture in history. We can watch our politicians deplete our resource wealth and deny our participation in it, or we can make a stand.
    Alaska’s Constitution requires that 25% of resource revenues be protected in a Permanent Fund. The Fund was established to keep money out of the greedy hands of vote-seeking politicians and to save it for future generations of Alaskans. In 1983, Alaskans created the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) program to distribute 50% of fund earnings to Alaskans annually as a dividend. This formula worked for thirty-five years – until 2016 – when something predictable happened: faced with cutting budgets or reducing your dividend, politicians grabbed your dividend.
    Alaskans know that “it’s our oil”. In some states, private landowners own the oil under their land and receive a 12.5% royalty for doing nothing. In Alaska, the State and Native Corporations own the sub-surface. Politicians don’t want you to know this, but this 12.5% royalty equals the amount of your historic dividend.
    That is, until our current politicians took it from you.

    Before an election, politicians tell us that Government exists for our collective interest and protection and that it is subservient to the supreme power of the people. Once elected, however, they change. They no longer prioritize “us” over their own re-election.
    Proof of this is that our legislature refuses to trust us. They arrogantly deny Alaskans the opportunity to vote on the most significant issue of our lifetime–a constitutional amendment making the traditional PFD formula permanent. Legislators think that they alone possess the authority to manage Alaska’s wealth, and the wisdom to know best how to spend our money. But the truth is, Alaska’s politicians—of both parties—want to take it from you to enhance their own power and to diminish yours.

    Not only is the individual a better steward of his royalty share, but he has legitimate foundation to assert the people’s interests against perceived injustice.
    Certain individual constitutional rights are not “administered”; they are inalienable– including “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of our own industry.” Citizens everywhere are awakening to the fact that government actions which deprive the people of equality of opportunity and the rewards of our individual effort and labor violate our inalienable rights.
    A cash dividend deserves Constitutional protection because it is just, equitable, and sustainable. The PFD is unique in the world because it meets this critical test:
    1) It is just since it delivers a resource to the people directly and allows the individual to decide how to spend it to maximize his personal circumstances.
    2) It is equitable since everyone receives the same PFD regardless of who is in power and what their partisan agenda may be.
    3) It is sustainable because if the PFD formula is honored as a priority draw on actual earnings, the PFD’s future is guaranteed.
    Alaska’s fish and game are commonly owned resources constitutionally mandated to be managed for the benefit of all Alaskans. Imagine, if government demanded 100% of our sustainable yield of salmon and distributed it as they saw fit: with no vote from the people.
    Who owns Alaska? This is not just a question for us, but for sovereign people everywhere. Citizens have the right to restrain their government by amending their Constitution to correct ills perpetrated against them, and among these are unjust distribution of resources and uncontrolled spending.

    To the political leaders who deny our vote on the PFD and rob citizens of our royalty share, our demand is this:

    Honor the people by restoring what is theirs.

    • We need to find a way to get rid of all the junior carpet-baggers, the friends and families of our imported politicians, the one’s they keep encouraging to come to Alaska.

      • You can change physical boundaries to gerrymander, or you can bring in friends and family to form a core voting block.

  7. They will steal the PFD and the entire fund will disappear into the government abyss. Cut government in half and quit giving away money and the parasites will move. No taxes because you politicians spent all of yours on wild dreams and now you want the fund. It does not belong to you it is everybody’s money. Time to clean out the government.

    • I thought it was the “No Taxes” people whom were the parasites. They are the high earners, with motor homes, airplanes, fancy homes, cabin cruisers, and at least two cars. They don’t want to have to pay taxes because it would cut them down to either just a motor home or just a cabin cruiser.
      They claim that they would advocate for a state income tax, if the PFD was eliminated. Guaranteed that if the PFD vanishes with the buffalo, that they will find another excuse to vote against a state income tax.

        • Not only do I not envy them, I loath their two faces, their greed, their self-righteous judgemental attitudes, their wanton waste of national resources, their better than thou attitude, their almost total lack of empathy, their entitlement attitude, their celebrating their status among their peers and flaunting it to those beneath them…………………………I could go on for hours.
          No, I most certainly do not envy the very ones who display every character trait which God condemns. I’m not perfect, but I at least try hard to better myself according to the words of God. The very same God who said that the gold of the wealthy (which includes all the above described) will perish with them in that day.

          • Let me add – I haven’t any grounds to envy anyone. I have a beautiful Dodge Challenger (which is the only one in Alaska with a tow package 🙂 which I’ve entered in car shows, and a really good toy hauler, plus a steady Federal income which meets all my needs, and then some.
            IMO there are probably at least 6 billion people in the world who would gladly change places with me.
            It is written that those who compare themselves with each other are not wise. The wise one’s compare themselves with the standards of God.

      • You thought wrong. The parasites are the non contributors that take and take from the rest of us who work for those boats and plane that you don’t have. If you want a boat or plane then get a job, and if you want to pay taxes, then start — because no one is holding you back.

        • When I worked at Sheep Creek, on the pipeline, I was the only Alaska Native there. All the rest were from Texas and Oklahoma. They were there because Texans and Oklahomans were the ones on the hiring board.
          They gave preference to their own kind, and to justify it they pulled every lazy, drunken, unskilled Native card they could think of.
          I ran the camp. I was the only carpenter, the only sewage treatment plant operator, and the only diesel electric operator. I was the only one keeping the kitchen equipment, the heating, the air conditioners, everything housekeeping running.
          Another part of my job was to break in trainees. I did so well that I got replaced, job by job, until I was “retired” to terminal, then terminated.
          Tell me about parasites! You get the jobs because you are one of “them”. One of the good old boys. I’ve been the token Native hire on many a job, moving scrap from one pile to another. Yeah! Tell me about parasites, good old boy………….

          • I worked in the oil field for 12 years and yes we had people from the states working up here, but we also had Alaskans working. If you were fired wrongfully, then you need a lawyer. It sounds like to me you have a social problem and do not like non-Native peoples.

    • I agree with you 100% & those in the government that’s trying to steal the PFD from Alaskans need to be voted out ASAP!!!

  8. Stop spending money on Medicaid Expansion…Our full PFD is now in the hands of Health and Social Services because the Legislature failed to appropriate our dividends to our account and they change statute as fast as they change their mind on increasing government spending on the Special Programs they feel we need. When we would be 10 times better off with our full PFD… Time to take them to task as they are still not listening. Talk about a rigged call in lets get your feelings on our bill, but you have to do it in advance. NOT

  9. AK Municipal League is just another special interest with its hoofs in the trough of state government. This organization goes to Juneau to lobby for more money for its members, local govts. Then its members use this money to pay dues to the AML so AML can go to Juneau to lobby for even more money. The circle of money and greed.

  10. How do we “strike the balance”?
    .
    First, stop with the BS.

    Second, be up front, introduce yourself as Alaska Municipal League’s Executive Director, registered AML lobbyist, direct beneficiary of your “broad-based” tax.
    .
    Third, fire whomever dressed you this morning and told you what to say.
    .
    Who dreams up such breathtakingly condescending, contemptuous remarks all by himself, much less says them?
    .
    This must be a market test… a fantasy… productive Alaskans must care so much about their $650 million-dollar Alaska Municipal League they want to pour more money into it?
    .
    Your AML exists for one purpose Nils, “… to strengthen Alaska’s local governments.”. Not citizens… Not productive Alaskans… “local governments”. Your AML even has a membership list, an associates list, a veritable Who’s Who of government parasites whose singular purpose is “strengthening” local governments
    .
    Your AML’s got $629,972,699.76 stashed out of public sight, Nils. Despite China virus effect on the stock market, Nils, that’s up from the 2019 average of $581 million taxpayer dollars.
    .
    Your AML’s even got two lobbyists, Nils. Alaska Lobbyist Directory shows a $75,000 per year parasite in Anchorage and another, –yourself–, a taxpayers’ bargain at $1.10 per minute in the Holy City of Juneau.
    .
    Fire both taxpayer-subsidized AML lobbyists, maybe that’s enough money to fix the St. Paul school roof!
    .
    So, Nils, “the State is very close to essentially being unable to pay for itself.” Whose fault is that?
    .
    Couldn’t have anything to do with what’s in Alaska’s Lobbyist Directory: 404 line entries of lobbyists at the public trough
    .
    …or noisy public sector union-management teams turning town-hall meetings into delphi union meetings,
    .
    …or running off British Petroleum while making secret agreements with the communist Chinese?
    .
    … or cities and boroughs stashing billions of revenue-shared taxpayer dollars in their very own “rainy-day accounts”, profiting from the interest while getting more revenue sharing from the State? Remember that gem from Jim Crawford’s expose, Nils?
    .
    … or Alaska’s education industry, AML’s partner, recognized nationally among the most expensive and worst-performing?
    .
    Way things are supposed to work, Nils, at least for now, is the Peoples Imperial State Legislature, –not some unelected government-paid lobbyist who lobbies for governments–, decides what is “basic services”. Public-sector union-management teams decide what they “cost”.. Then the masses pay what their rulers require, actual costs be damned, of course.
    .
    What “basic services”? Fire, police, infanticide, sequestering PFD’s, growing the low-quality, high price education industry, librarians’ sex-change operations, automatically self-destructing roads, the Great Alaska LeDoux Vote Experiment, telling the governor where he can stuff his special session, legislative junkets, gas pipelines for communist China, revenue-sharing with cities and boroughs whose multi-billion dollar rainy-day accounts have to be kept out of public sight, keeping the $650M Alaska Municipal League afloat, figuring out how to spend money pouring out of the Denali Commission pipeline, stuff like that?
    .
    Like Alaskan Deplorables, Nils, you have no clue what “basic services” actually cost or how much tax money which could easily pay for “basic services” is ratholed out of sight. You’ll pay what you’re told to pay for “basic services” unless, of course, you’re among specially exempted such as non-profits, Native corporations, bums, welfare queens, lobbyists, and public-sector union-management teams who’ll get pay raises so they won’t be out-of-pocket.
    .
    Unlike Alaskan Deplorables, Nils, your elites seem to believe productive Alaskans should be kicked in the teeth with extra taxes especially while they’re getting China-virus’d out of their jobs for who knows how long.
    .
    Unlike Alaskan Deplorables, Nils, your mob seem to believe productive Alaskans are too dumb to demand a forensic audit of state finances and management practices before deciding for themselves whether to abolish AML return its $650M to the state treasury, and figuratively of course, run your bloody “broad-based tax”, including its advocates, right out of town.
    .
    How do we strike the right balance in meeting the State’s needs and the interests of Alaskans? “We” don’t. Everybody but the most confused seems to know it’s not about “meeting the state’s needs”! It is about getting a handle on the runaway mismanagement, spending, corruption, theft, betrayal, and outright disregard for law that seems to permeate nearly every level of state government, nowhere more so than the enterprise that passes for Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team!
    .
    How do “we” do so by working together?
    .
    “We” ditch AML and the lobbyist half of Alaska’s lobbyist-legislator team. “We” have a forensic audit of state finances and management practices. “We” ditch every state-subsidized boondoggle involving communist China. “We” request the federal government determine whether AML’s and others’ Magic Money Management is actually prosecutable money laundering. “We” fire public officials who deliberately neglect minor public-building maintenance until it turns into major repairs and major contracts (with major kickbacks?), prosecute them for malfeasance, sue them for damages.
    .
    “We” contract out Alaska’s education industry K-16 to some group who’s known to be good at it. “We” ditch every damned thing, every damned bureaucrat who conveys the message that Alaska is a third-world, money gobbling, socialist dictatorship closed for business! Last, but not least, “we” restore the peoples’ Permanent Fund Dividend payments to their full, statutory amount! For starters!
    .
    Then “we” might be able to work together, reassemble a state government less likely to eat the hands that feed it. The taxpayer subsidized AML, by definition, has to go. It can’t be part of such a paradigm shift since the taxpayer-subsidized AML’s mission is all about, only about, getting more money for government …while being subsidized by taxpayers.
    .
    How’s that for “unmet needs”?
    .
    Real Alaskan people suffer in a global pandemic affecting every part of their lives, losing jobs, trying to find work, having bills to pay, trying to find food, figuring out what to do with school children suddenly out of school, wondering who’ll be infected next, President Trump’s intervening with financial help… then some damned AML lobbyist kicks them when they’re down, demands his “broad-based” taxes to preserve his AML cronies in the style to which they became entitled? How creepy is that?
    .
    That crap was way “out of line”, Nils, long before you showed up to set productive Alaskans straight.

  11. Wow! Just wow! I’ve just read a master’s work, which spelled everything out so clearly that even I could comprehend it. Lead the way Morrigan, I will follow.

  12. Nils, Nils, Nils… I’d bend you over my knee and redden that derriere of yours with a thin belt if given the chance and I can assure you that you wouldn’t enjoy a moment of it.

    Your position that “that the State does have some fundamental responsibilities” strides right past the reality that there’s a staggering amount of unjustifiable waste, that the State’s payroll is bloated to an outrageously unsustainable degree, that State funds prop up all manner of entities and activities that it has no business participating in (here’s looking at you, non-profits), and that it’s absolutely proper for the unincorporated villages to pay for much of what they’ve been mooching off of the State to support.

    Just step right up and try to justify this, Nils: https://mustreadalaska.com/in-one-alaska-public-school-the-cost-is-139000-per-pupil.
    Here’s a refresher with your organization’s stance if you need to scrounge up some talking points: https://www.dropbox.com/s/q5g4p0m62grwaee/2020-05%20Education%20Funding%20Contributions.pdf. Take your best shot, Sonny.

    Maybe want to defend this while you’re at it? http://alaskapolicyforum.org/2015/05/medicaid-expansion-follow-the-money

    And I don’t see how much money you and your team are throwing at official lobbying efforts this year but it looks like you folks paid $75,000 to Dianne Blumer last year which boosted her earnings to $232,000 – not a bad take for her part-time job of keep you and the rest of the swamp in jobs: http://midnightsunak.com/2019/02/22/friday-in-the-sun-feb-22-the-lobbyist-edition

    Y’know, it would be one thing if you were altruistically advocating for wealth redistribution on behalf of the needy who need our money to sustain their meager existences but you aren’t really doing that now, are you, Nils?

    How much do they pay you to pretend that you’re one of us anyway, Nils?

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