Mayor Berkowitz wants communities to get piece of Permanent Fund dividends - Must Read Alaska
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Mayor Berkowitz wants communities to get piece of Permanent Fund dividends



Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has an idea for how to pay for the largest budget in Anchorage history: Now that there’s little to spare with “community assistance” from the State of Alaska, it’s time to get the State to pay communities a dividend from the Alaska Permanent Fund.

This is a plan that plenty of local mayors and assemblies, now controlled by taxing liberals, will likely embrace as they converge on Juneau with their legislative agendas.

It’s really community revenue sharing by another name. The sharing just comes from Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends.

Berkowitz noted in an interview with KTVA that Anchorage and the State of Alaska have many of the same services for the same populations.

“What the state hasn’t done with its fiscal planning is to integrate the local governments in terms of what it’s going to look like because we both provide services to the same constituencies,” Berkowitz said. “A community dividend, in essence, would mean you would divide the dividend payout between state government, the dividend itself and local government.” 

With the Berkowitz community Permanent Fund dividend, Alaskans would receive even less of their statutorily determined dividend, although the amount to be skimmed by local governments is unclear. Berkowitz also didn’t explain how unorganized parts of the state would receive a community dividend, since the Legislature serves as the borough government for unorganized areas.

The second of three town hall meetings on the Anchorage legislative agenda takes place from 6-7:30 pm at Chugiak High School’s auditorium on Wednesday, Jan. 8. On Jan 9, the Mayor and the Anchorage Assembly will head to Girdwood’s Community Room for another town hall, from 6:30-8 pm.

Among other items to be discussed are the three new sales taxes proposed for Anchorage residents, which will also be the subject of a separate public hearing on Jan. 14, as the Assembly seeks to move one or all of them to the March-April municipal election:

While state funding to the municipality of Anchorage has dropped by $100 million since 2005, the city’s budget has continued to explode, and now must be fed by taxes. The municipal budget is nearly 15 percent higher now than when Berkowitz took office and every year the Berkowitz Administration has set a new record for the size of the municipal budget. Meanwhile, the population of the city has dropped, and the number of new homes built in Anchorage during his administration was the lowest in decades. Only 219 residences were built in 2019.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I hope he is gone when ML&P sale goes through because he will spend every red cent. ML&P is Anchorages cash cow, why milk it dry.

  • The whole story is in the last 4 lines of it….The Mayor has been doing the wrong things since day one and not changed his plan and as long as he is there we are going to see more of the same..!!

  • Idiotic leftists never cease to amaze me. Little Ethan doesn’t seem to realize that the PFD was established to prevent money grubbing politicians like himself from blowing the oil wealth on the likes of the leftist “agenda”? The PFD is currently the biggest citizen contributor to “communities” economies to be seen. L. Ethan’s “communities” must be other than those communities that already benefit tremendously from Alaskans’ individual PFD disbursement. My posts about excessive taxes trying to overwhelm citizens are starting to sound like echoes of each other. These tax increases and completely new schemes to pillage Alaskans are completely out of line. What happened to ‘living within your means’, like everyone must do or go bankrupt?

    • Absolutely correct Ben. Oral Freeman once told me that the original intent of the fund was to keep the hands of government officials and special interests from spending all of the $.

  • In a “Constitutional Republic”, “We The People” are the lawful owners of ALL the Land and Resources, and the P.F.D. is only a very small part of that since “THE STATE OF ALASKA”, a Corporation, is already unlawfully stealing everything else. Now Mayor Berkowitz wants to unlawfully steal the remainder. That is going WAY over the line and must be prevented!!!! Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

  • Why do we keep enabling this state and communities? When the theft money from our dividend runs out, then what? How about we just face this issue head on, budget for our bills and life will be much better in the years to come! Open your eyes legislators and mayor!!!!!

  • There is never enough of other people’s money for the big government crowd.

  • The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money – Margaret Thatcher.

  • Tax and spend isn’t the Dems real agenda, it’s just their means. Their real agenda is their becoming the ones in charge, reaping the wealth, when they turn America into an socialist/communist nation.
    The GOP has capitalism sewn up, and the Dems can’t get enough traction there, so the Dems have started their own caliphate, loosely labeled “The New World Order”. If they can’t wrest control of America from the GOP, then they’ll start a “world government” wherein they’re in charge.
    That’s why the Dems are catering to all the fringe groups and causes, promising them a place in the “New America”.
    The average Dem voter, the rank and file, are half-blind to their party’s half-hidden agenda, but they still want their “trickle-down” sliver-slice of the pie.

    • Tax and spend on themselves. All they need is 50 percent plus one vote to relieve the 50 percent minus one vote of their hard earned wealth. Thomas Jefferson warned of when the people learned to use the power of government to enrich themselves. All of their programs, no matter how well intentioned they may be packaged to sound, are nothing but wealth transfer from the productive of society to the non-productive.

      • It’s the Democrat leaders that have made my house worth a quarter of a million dollars. Not bad for a 900sgft. 1953 built shack.
        I think if I stick with them it might go up to half a million and I’ll be rolling in the doe and retire in Hawaii.

  • Front page of today’s news — population drops for third year in a row. The elected officials of Anchorage are out of step with reality.
    What makes a person credible is being able to call it both ways. Not These guys.
    Sad old story of more. Not recognizing the changing demographics of Anchorage and living in the grand old days of lots of money with no accountability.
    How about this for starters. ASD is the biggest bill on my property tax. The current student levels are at levels of the early 1990’s, difference with today, ASD has a 1,000,000 more square feet on books. No discussion of closings schools. Given the chance to show real leadership as result of the earthquake, politicians current and from the past chant build, build, build.
    This is not a red or blue issue. This is a common sense issue of sustainability.
    Further to promote taxes on the basis of needing new bike trails is laughable.
    When you are stuck in the past clinging to the spend, spend, spend mantra. Maybe Berkowitz should not have run for Mayor. After all it is easy to advocate for more and always say yes to more. It takes real character to say no to more spending. Just look south to Juneau for an example of courage, his name is Mike Dunleavy.

  • What a moron – should never have been allowed in Alaska.

    Truly the definition of crab bait!

  • If Anchorage needs more revenue, then consider raising your taxes on your property and enacting a sales tax. The mayor is overdriving his headlights here. This is nearly as goofy as Tom Fink back when he was mayor who famously claimed he needed more money for Anchorage and demanded that the Legislature pony up the cash. Didn’t happen then. Won’t happen now.

  • Fire the “homeless coordinator” and spend that money on worthwhile services. Stop Plowing lakes, let people shovel. Take mayor B salary and donate it to me.

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