By MICHAEL TAVOLIERO
Communism is “a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.”
On May 26, an Eagle River resident emailed his District 14 State House Rep. Kelly Merrick, regarding his concern over SJR 6, the governor’s proposal to allow the people to vote on a constitutionally set Permanent Fund dividend formula.
He asked for her support for SJR 6.
What followed was an example which many Alaskans are now witnessing from their state legislators.
What is SJR 6? It was part of the opening public policy platform of the then-new Gov. Dunleavy in 2018. It proposes amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the Alaska Permanent Fund, appropriations from the APF, the APF dividend, and power cost equalization.
Amending the state Constitution requires a vote of the people.
This is part of Rep. Merrick’s response on June 3, 2021:
“Thank you for writing to share your support of SJR 6. As you mentioned, the PFD has become of the biggest debates every year, and like you, I want that to end. The principal would certainly survive any PFD payout, given that the principal is untouchable, but the state may not. Paying out a substantial PFD like those that have been proposed continues to shrink our state revenue options into the future, and shrinking revenue is certainly not something we can afford right now. I’m all for preserving the PFD into the future, and I believe Alaskans want that, as well; with the current formula, there are only a few dividends left before the money’s gone. The same people that are hurting after the last year are also people who need roads to drive on, teachers for their kids, healthcare options, and more. The PFD isn’t the only concern, and SJR 6 doesn’t even address this year’s, or even next year’s, dividend.”
How come every elected communist to the Alaska Legislature since 2015 (the Walker Debacle) has framed the PFD to their constituents as “[one] of the biggest debates every year, and like you, I want that to end.”?
Comrade Merrick explains, “The principal would certainly survive any PFD payout, given that the principal is untouchable, but the state may not.”
The Alaska Deep State has been the only one profiting from the reduced PFD’s since 2015. If the State paid out all “owed” dividend funds since 2015, the Alaska Permanent Fund will still very solvent and continue to grow.
It is this “The Sky Is Falling” attitude that these communists use to argue against even the 50/50 POMV plan, scare their constituents and label their narrative opposing the people’s right to decide such policy issues in favor of their own suspicious motives.
When the communists control Alaska’s economy, freedom is in a vacuum.
There are many people in this state, influential people, who are continually writing their legislators stating the sky is falling, yet have not taken the time to research the present and future financial health of the State of Alaska.
The sky is not falling.
The Permanent Fund is thriving.
The Permanent Fund performance since 2016 has grown in value from almost $52 billion to over $81.5 billion in 2021. That’s an increase in value of about $28 billion or an increase of over 50%. With its rate of return over the past 5 years of almost 11.5%, the future Permanent Fund will hit $100 Billion.
Today’s communists in the Alaska Legislature create excitement through fear mongering and ignoring the facts.
Merrick continues, “Paying out a substantial PFD like those that have been proposed continues to shrink our state revenue options into the future, and shrinking revenue is certainly not something we can afford right now.”
Unless we reduce the size of government, but this is not part of her reasoning.
Alaskans on fixed incomes or in the lowest income brackets are being hit the hardest by the diminished dividend payments.
Diminished dividends are the worst form of taxation.
Every child, every senior citizen, everyone on fixed incomes was hit with the same tax every year going back to 2016.
Under the current economic situation, communists like Merrick cannot support one, only one, larger PFD, whether it is the Statutory Formula ($3,400) or the 50/50 POMV 5.0 Formula ($2,300).
The PFD program is the only way that we can boost the Alaskan economy by touching every Alaskan with a positive financial impact. Every eligible Alaskan!
We have the money in the bank. We do not have to “borrow” or “print” the PFD funds like the federal government does.
How much better off would each eligible Alaskan be all the dividend balances owed to them?
That’s a balance of over $7,000 plus what is owed to us for 2021.
How much have the resident households of Alaska had their revenue options shrink through confiscation of the PFD since 2015?
But let’s talk about the state’s shrinking revenue options into the future.
Due to post pandemic demand and the current federal administration, conservative estimates see the price of oil topping $80 a barrel by the end of 2021, which may also be impacted by demand and production increases. Demand for Alaska’s oil will remain high globally for at least the next thirty years.
Between the Alaska Permanent Fund and natural resource development, Alaska’s revenue options are fertile, unless the communists in the Alaska Legislature who continue to use their scare tactics, delay legislative work, and bloated budgets convince citizens it’s time to sunset the PFD.
The communists sure have done a great job in convincing the uninformed that the sky is falling.
How dare they?
Comrade Merrick continues, “I’m all for preserving the PFD into the future, and I believe Alaskans want that, as well; with the current formula, there are only a few dividends left before the money’s gone.”
Preserving the PFD into the future? There are parents and grandparents and children and grandchildren today who are not benefitting from the PFD program, because of Comrade Merrick’s Marxist ideology of growing government at any cost.
Many conservative legislators have earnestly worked to slow the level of government spending. Decreasing government spending will help our state economy, our fiscal rating, and improve the prosperity of the APF.
But sadly, because of communists like Comrade Merrick, government is the major industry in Alaska. It should not be.
Comrade Merrick is the hold up for the conference committee.
The reality is the 41st member of our House side of the state Legislature, her husband, Joey Merrick, Business Manager of the Laborer’s Union Local 341. He pulls the strings to vanquish the PFD in favor of a larger capital improvements budget. Through his influence and other communists in the House, Comrade Merrick remains the disingenuous and phony conservative. She is the hold up because she wants more capital spending and less PFD. This is no doubt this is a planned concession to the unions.
While the platitudes in her response seem to indicate she is for a PFD payout, her actions and voting show she is not. Please don’t take my word, look at her APOC statement, look at her voting, and look who she associates with.
Michael Tavoliero is a realtor in Eagle River, is active in the Alaska Republican Party and chairs Eaglexit.
Just make sure Eagle River has another candidate ready to challenge Merrick and win.
Teach her and her family a lesson what happens to those elected who serve up themselves.
Eagle River Republicans learned their lesson about judging someone by their first impression.
If Eagle River Republicans digged a little deeper you would have seen Merrick and her husband are Democrats escaping Anchorage for good reason.
Now this is what I call hard hitting journalism. Well done.
Michael Tavoliero you have drank far too much of the Dividend Kool-Aid.
I found Representative Merrick’s response to be quite a factual account of our situation.
Your first mistake is assuming the Dividend is some type of entitlement that “you have a right to”. That is completely false and there is no basis for that in the Constitution. The Statute is there but the Legislature has no legal obligation to follow it. I too wish they would replace it with something else but there are so many questions about the “something else”.
Secondly, calling people communists is childish and does not help the credibility of your opinion. It is also ironic because you are supporting Universal Basic Income – a bedrock principle of Marxism/Socialism/Communism.
I do agree you have a right to your share of the income but you also have an obligation to pay your share of the bills (Article 1, Paragraph 1 Alaska Constitution). If you really want a Dividend – how about the usual way to produce more income than expenses? Slash government if you can to reduce costs but this is politically impossible while the State pays Deficit Dividends. Raise income if you can but I am pretty sure you are not in favor of new taxes.
Again kudos to Representative Merrick for seeing through the fog of fiduciary chaos in Alaska.
Lets suspend the Dividend this year and get our fiscal situation under control!
Then Michael, you can whip your followers into a froth of misinformation to defeat another good legislator at the polls.
Absolutely on Point!!! Thank you for the correct thoughts and what the ramifications are. Although the PFD is at a high point, what isn’t vocalized by the legislative body is that this billion dollar fund is always kept in mind of the federal government. The prominent tool to use in a court of law is “Eminent Domain” and has been used by the federal government or the state when deemed necessary. “Eminent domain is the right of the state (people) or sovereign to take private property for public use, since eminent domain is an inherent attribute of sovereignty, 15 A. 2d 647, 650, the individual property owner’s consent to taking is immaterial. 29 N.E. 1062, 1063. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution requires that just compensation be made whenever private property is taken for public use by the Congress.” So, the people of the State of Alaska can bypass actions of the legislation and go to court….however high….for battle to “take” their property and be justly compensated. On the other hand, so can the federal government do likewise. Remember the Antiquities Act taking in the Carter Administration? So, my point is to give to the people NOW to offset the shock of the federal government using their powers to “take.” Just think of the money in billions this state received in the last year from the federal government. They can call in their markers on any day and at any time. We, the people in the State don’t even have to be notified. So, the dumb legislative body needs to think through their stupidity and do the job they were elected to do, “for the people” and not themselves and the next election. On that note….RECALL is a good thing to do. Cleans the closet, so to speak.
Are you saying that the federal government has the “right” to seize the permanent fund?
Recall Merrick now as she does not deserve another legislative session to be a spoiler for the Democratic House majority. She is not serving her voters but her husband’s desires and the Democrats. Do our best to replace her and the other Republican turncoat before the legislature meets in August special session. Find a candidate that will support Passing the Governor’s three part plan for the PFD SJ6 and pay the past withheld statutory dividends to ALaskans.
The legislature transferred billions to the earning reserve account earlier this session so it wouldn’t appear to be available. They also are getting millions of Federal Cares Act Funds that they are spending in excess of the budget. Cut the budgets to the agencies getting millions of excess money or they will be back next year claiming they can’t exist without all that extra money. The State gets more money next year to spend. This 500 million is just part of the windfall the State will get in Care Act funds. Remember how they said they couldn’t do a budget until after the Federal guidance on what they could use to replace State budget money with Federal dollars?
I am not talking about the businesses that were hurt by the shutdowns but if you look they are getting the smallest share of the funds. Give more to the businesses effected. Less to grand advertising plans for tourists that will come anyway as soon as they feel safe to travel.
The FL court case pending may cancel all cruises ship travel to AK this year. Your gambling money on a SHORT (fact) or No (good possibility) season that is an extremely bad bet. The courts have consistently decided in favor of CDC requirements of State actions. Use that money as direct aid to the existing tourism industry based on documented reduction in the businesses profits last year over previous years.
Alaska has a legislator problem, they lie to get elected and once in Juneau they —- on the voters and do the bidding of the special interests. We need the means to remove a corrupt legislator in a timely manner, before they can damage our state. The republican candidates need to take an oath to the district promising to be faithful to their promises or resign.
Good article Tavoliero! You outed Merrick and her husband the union goon.
The Laborers, LIUNA, had been at the forefront of corruption for decades.
From stealing pension fund monies to rigging internal union elections. Business managers usually run on three year elected cycles and they get paid enormous amounts in salary. Most of them have little education.
They rely on outside counsel and accountants to get the job done. But the one thing trade union BMs have in common is that they convince the membership that solidarity brings home the bacon. The bacon is usually quartered through the Democrat Party.
Merrick is nothing more than a plant to help vote on legislation that gets the state as much $$ as possible.
The Democrat Party takes care of the unions, not the Republicans. Doesn’t Rep. Fields work for Merrick’s husband?
I bet Art Chance can elaborate more on this matter. The point being, the author here calls them Commies, and he’s not wrong. Trade unions operate on the principles of communism. The dictators ARE the business managers.
At least my representative, Grier Hopkins, makes it obvious he is a communist!
The only one drinking Kool aid here is Chris Nyman!
Chris Nyman: “Lets suspend the Dividend this year and get our fiscal situation under control!”
And if you get away with that this year, then it’s clear sailing for diverting all the PF to anyone you choose?
Merrick, like other drunken politicians don’t understand who owns the big pot of PFD money. The People of Alaska own it. The “cuts” that have been made to state programs are a joke and a insult to Alaskans. Sharpen your pencils and try again. A petition needs to be started to be put on the ballot to who controls the PFD. Legislators cannot be trusted.
Tavoliero tells insightful truth, Nyman you are the one drinking the false Kool Aid.
Good piece. This guy needs to run for office.
Your comments above are straight out of the Leftist’s playbook. Deny, denounce, obfuscate and ridicule. Tavoliero has some courage to come out and lay it on the line. I hope he runs for office b/c he has the backs of the ordinary citizens and he isn’t being fooled by the old Lefty game. I would support him if he runs.
Having been a union hand for many years I can tell you that union membership is not unlike being a government bureaucrat. You have your little job, you keep your mouth shut, you do what your union steward or dictator union officer tells you to do and you may get vested and retire with a pension. You are otherwise a nobody and you must abide by the union rules and directives from the top. Total communism. You have no independent voice, and if you buck down on the system, you get punished. Just like the Commies do to their workers in China. You become. commie to okay and stay in the game, no matter how much it hurts your conscience.
This author is smooth. I agree. He needs to run for office in 2022.
👍👍I’ll vote for him.😊
There are lot of signs in peoples yards that say, “Proud Union Member”. No one should debate that the labor union thrives and protects Alaskan workers, unless the author is trying to undermine an Alaskan Bidder for their own interests.
The Merrick family has supported hockey and football. The Merrick family has been here 20 years. As life long Alaskans don’t they deserve to be a part of leadership? As for revenue and the permanent fund, lest the Merricks forget, we are equal, and little people count too.
We use those dividends to pay for hockey and football. It is foolish to forget the little people with smaller aspirations. It must be hard to think small but there are plenty of worker bees out there. And the Avis heir should be ashamed of himself too. Many of us will never have the nepotism or generational wealth. Reduce the size of government and voila your budget issue is resolved.
Our government and economy depends on hockey and football? What planet are you from?
Tom what planet are you from?? Or was that satire using just an idiot opinion to change the subject of Merrick’s violating her loyalty to the party and people that elected her. The GOP would be a majority in the House if she hadn’t betrayed her voters. The PFD issue would be decided in the people’s and Governor’s way not the special interest’s.
Hockey is barely surviving in AK and the only football is in high schools that are drowning in money from the SOA, bonds and Cares funding. They have never had so much money to squander.
You must be one of the cheerleaders for football and hockey. Go have another beer and smoke another doobie. Your sense of reality is blurred. Football and hockey is weekend entertainment for chumps who don’t read books and have already seen all the cable movie reruns.
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