Tavoliero: We need the Permanent Fund dividend - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Tavoliero: We need the Permanent Fund dividend

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By MICHAEL TAVOLIERO

I don’t buy into the declaration of “It’s time to end the Permanent Fund dividend.”  

We are spending in 2021 over $12 billion on state government.  

We have less than three quarters of a million people.

I couldn’t help but think about our schizophrenic state constitution. You know the one that provides that all political power is inherent in the people but gives authority to the Legislature over all the natural resources belonging to the state, including land and water, for the maximum benefit of the people.

How have those benefits worked out?  

Billions upon billions gone.  Zilch. Kapoot. Vapor. No discernible evidence the money was ever used on anything.  

How many boondoggle projects have wasted our natural resource development revenues over the past 40 plus years? 

All conceived and led by an insatiable state government and administrations.

We don’t have much to show for it, except we have now the most incompetent state government ever in the history of the state.  

It keeps setting exemplary failure levels across the board nationally, especially, in our two most major budget items, education and healthcare.

In our nation, Alaska has one of the worst education performance outcomes as well as one of the highest costs per student.  Alaska has the highest cost for health care in the nation.  Our state university is an embarrassment with a dismal graduation rate. The list of state operated failures is only surpassed by our denial to correct them.

Yet we boast one of the highest cost per capita for a state government.  

And it’s time to end the PFD?

I have personally seen the benefits of the PFD to Alaska families needing to make ends meet during a bad winter, families saving their PFD’s for their kids’ education and saving their PFDs for a down payment on a house amongst other wonderful outcomes because of the PFD.

Sorry, I can’t buy into the progressive double speak of “Let’s end the PFD,” when we as a state have failed to cut an over bloated, ill managed and demonstrably inept state government; when we have failed to reform an education system which promises our children only one outcome, failure; when we have ignored the cost of health care to the point that private insurance carriers find it more cost effective to send patients for treatment to the Lower 48 with a companion, first class airfare, and per diem, rather than treat locally.

At the beginning of Alaska’s worst economic debacle, COVID-19, our state government showed its disdain for its citizens by continuing to be essential while the private sector was non-essential.  When given the opportunity to come to the rescue, the Alaska State Legislature refused to pay the Alaska people their 2016 through 2020 PFD balances.

I wasn’t going to say anything, but the Communists of this state want the control of our natural resources, our political process and most of all our children.

I for one am standing and saying “NO!” to ending the PFD. 

Let’s vote for a 32nd State Legislature to include men and women who will protect the PFD and reduce state spending.

Michael Tavoliero is a realtor at Core Real Estate Group in Eagle River, is active in the Alaska Republican Party and chairs Eaglexit.

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  • Excellent overview of our current situation. Faiweather Republicans who lost in the Closed Republican Primary are also contributing to the chaos they pretend to oppose. This gives credence to goofy calls for “Better Elections” with unaccountable jungle promary elections.

  • Well put! I hope people are listening.

  • Exactly, a well painted picture, excellent synopsis!

  • Turning the “Way Back” machine to 1971 (???). Joint session of (IIRC) the Alaska Senate and Alaska House of Representatives Finance Committees (with others) in the Baranof conference room in Juneau. Topic: how to best use the $900+mm windfall from State Lease sales in Prudhoe. One of the more frequently expressed views: “Why are we worrying about this? We’ll never be able to spend $900,000,000.”

    My how things have changed.
    For my $0.015, the PFD has become a political football and an entitlement, one of the fears of Gov. Hammond….nevertheless…

    – When we have a University system carrying 3 separate and distinct layers of overhead;
    – When we have a DoT/PF that is sized to support activity based on hundreds of millions of $$ in federal aid and that aid has disappeared but the staffing remains
    – When we have every organized local government entity in Alaska demanding more and more $$ “from Juneau” for “education”, without delivering any acceptable results.

    ..then it’s long since time to enforce some serious financial discipline before touching the PFD.

    • Agreed. You should have given us the full 2 cents worth, I would have read it!

  • Yeah I remember back when Johnston was saying that we couldn’t handle an early PFD dispersal and we got it anyway? I’m not sure what she’s smoking but she must have forgotten that we used to handle a hell of a lot more PFD money in the past than what we were currently getting with Bryce and the folks stealing it. Johnston did get a choice little spanking from Bryce for opening her mouth on that deal. I’ve argued with Bryce I don’t know how many times about why people, truly needy people in the bush rely on their PFD and instead he gives me a long list of other things that he gives them that’s supposed to make up for it. He doesn’t give them squat it’s the governor that signs it into law. It’s time for Dillingham to wake up and replace this fool.

  • Here! Here! Now we are getting to the core of truth!

    It’s time for people like you to grab hold of the reins of this state’s spending sprees.

    We must demand a public AUDIT of each and every state, borough, and city job description that is paid thru taxpayers and federal money. Our tax dollars should be reassessing all of its employees so that we are paying reasonable wages that truly represent the real world, as in the lower 48, and stop paying these overblown, out of proportion, unrealistic, unsustainable and exorbitant SALARIES to under performing school teachers and administrators, non essential city and borough employees. And EVERYONE who works in JUNEAU, or any state government, should not be paid more than the LOWEST WAGE OFFERED to their constituents in the state they represent, including the same type of health insurance and related costs as the rest of us get, which is mostly incompetent in Alaska.

    We still pay Gov’t, State and Local salaries that reflect the old days of earning wages from the slope (before our own govt helped shut down our production over time to play their games of using us for their slaves).

    Currently the state brags that education is Alaska’s largest group of employees, (and, man, you should see their salaries-download the app “Open The Books” and check out all state and federal salaries by name and zip code and you’ll see for yourselves) where incompetent and lackadaisical teachers force emotionally and psychologically abusive material upon the innocent and impressionable minds of our children, who, being dumbed down with brainwashing and indoctrination lessons like common core, further oppresses our youth from being able to afford to continue living here, and hopefully, raise their own families, after reaching adulthood.

    So, why don’t we just take a nice public look at what everyone is being paid and what is the return on our investment and adjust their pay accordingly? If anything it will humble the arrogance of the teachers to see they will get paid what they’re actually worth, the way EVERYONE should be paid, especially politicians, who should make the lowest posdible wage in this state, and for posterity.

    We need to start sending out pink slips and new contracts offering LOWER salaries that more realistically reflect what is fair and equitable according the the REST of the Nation.

    And I say let’s stop giving politicians such wealth and control and we will attract more honest politicians.

    And, all state politicians and Gov’t legislators should be required to abide by their own rules and live in the same way as the poorest among their own constituents for the entire length of their limited service of two full terms while not being allowed to buy any stock or become involved in any investments or in any way profit themselves or their immediate family and friends at all during their very limited tenure.

  • Great points Mike. Individual Alaskans deserve to make independent choices with their share of Alaska’s natural resource wealth unadulterated by the manipulation of bureaucrats and of politicians. Our leaders have shown very little spinal fortitude in reducing spending or even mandating efficacy for failing programs. Despite cries to the contrary from public sector unions and their bought and paid for legislative advocates, there is still a lot of opportunity to reduce spending on things that don’t work or simply don’t make sense. Duplication of effort between federal, state, and local government is one of the biggest contributors to waste that should be addressed. In addition, under current funding allocation and budgeting systems, administrators are not rewarded for efficiency, and are Instead penalized for not spending all of the funding allocated through the budget. This creates wasteful, perverse spending incentives that perpetuate the problem.

  • End public unions and privatize every state, municipal, local agency possible !

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