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My disgust in the Legislature
By Samuel Bergeron


June 27, 2004

Each year the legislature fails to address our long-standing fiscal crisis it means fewer services and higher local taxes.

Every year we send the same people to Juneau to represent us. Now and for a long while these people have been Republicans. We have a Republican Governor, a Republican Senate and a Republican House of Representatives. Yet this majority has done nothing to make your life and mine better. On the contrary, they have said thru painful cuts to senior citizens' longevity bonuses and revenue sharing to local governments, that until we get to spend your permanent fund or tax you, this will continue. All the while they are giving away the State's natural recourses to large oil companies thru the economic limit factor and offer up huge tax breaks and superfluous economic incentives. When will this end?

It will end when we figure out that the best interest of you and I, the voters of this state, are not being met. The way to change the direction of the legislature is to change the legislature itself. This year is the year we should make our voices loud and clear at the ballot box; You've had your chance now we'll try someone new . We should elect people with new ideas and the wherewithal to implement those ideas not offer up more of the same.

The fiscal council policy of Alaska embraced a concept to secure a percentage of the permanent fund to fund essential State services while preserving a dividend to be paid to all Alaskans. (POMV) I believe this concept has merit and should've been addressed in the special session of the legislature. It wasn't. Instead we were given the same excuses as why they weren't able to come to a consensus and fund education, public safety, longevity bonuses, transportation and all the other services we have come to rely on. The net result of their inaction is a reduction or elimination of some of these services, as well as passing along the cost of these services to you and I at the local level thru increased sales taxes, property taxes and user fees.

Instead they have criticized each other, mostly the Governor, for calling a special session and their impotency towards the fiscal gap continues. It's obvious to me that this set of players will never get the fiscal gap fixed until they are able to tap the perm fund or implement a state wide sales tax or reinstate the income tax, all the while the great give away continues.

In the near term we need to implement the POMV concept and address the economic limit factor and stop the great give away to large outside interests. There was a point of view published in the Ketchikan Daily News entitled: Before POMV, reverse effects of ELF. I believe this concept has merit but it is not pragmatic in the sense that the State's fiscal problem needs to be addressed in the near term. We should do as the fiscal council policy of Alaska has suggested and implement the POMV concept. At the same time have discussion of what the ELF is exactly and ask ourselves is it good policy for Alaska. If it's not, fix it.

You, the readers of this missive, are the ultimate authority as to the direction the State government should take. You do this by electing people who can and will make a difference. Not by continuing the gridlock, but by embracing concepts such as POMV, that are not perfect, but address our economic needs. We need to elect representatives that will embrace the policies that will address the needs of all Alaskans and who will leave the excuses behind.

Thanks for listening.

Samuel Bergeron
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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