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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Statement of Withdrawal

By Ghert Abbott

September 03, 2018
Monday PM

I decided to run on March 25th as a result of Representative Ortiz’s then failure to put forth a clear, comprehensive plan for both the protection and increase of the permanent fund dividend. On August 23rd, Representative Ortiz published a plan calling for a lower draw on the Earnings Reserve, a lower state share of said draw, a greater system of non-regressive revenue in order to support essential pubic services and a larger PFD, and a commitment to make increasing the PFD a top priority as the state’s fiscal situation improves. These proposals, if fully enacted, would mean a moving away from the horrifically unfair PFD tax imposed on us by Senate Bill 26.

In light of Dan Ortiz’s much stronger position in favor of the Permanent Fund Dividend, I felt it necessary to reevaluate my candidacy. Representative Ortiz supports fully funding our Medicaid Expansion, he has worked to protect our Pioneer Home, he has fought to reverse harmful cuts to our public schools, and he has defended our Marine Highway System.

Our Republican opponent Trevor Shaw in contrast favors taxing the PFD and cutting those very same essential services. In the June 14th issue of the Wrangell Sentinel, Mr. Shaw is quoted saying “I do think part of addressing the fiscal crisis is using a portion of the PF earnings…” On August 7th, the Ketchikan Daily News quotes Shaw stating: “I think that using a portion of the people’s permanent fund dividends is something you have to earn,” earn in this case being a euphemism for further cuts to public spending. Under Mr. Shaw’s preferred policies, working and middle class Alaskans will still be footing practically the entire bill for resolving the fiscal crisis.

So after careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the race so as not to divide the pro-PFD and anti-austerity vote. It remains my belief that the only way to restore and safeguard a full permanent fund dividend is to build a progressive revenue system for the support of essential public services. I see Representative Ortiz’s plan as a step in that direction. Over time, progressive revenue would be increased and the PFD tax correspondingly decreased. Eventually the PFD would be fully restored.

On August 13th, a full permanent fund dividend and a full progressive income tax were made the official positions of the House District 36 Democratic Party. Going forward, I intend to fight to place a plank for a full permanent fund dividend, a full progressive income tax, and higher oil taxes in the Alaskan Democratic Party platform.

Ghert Abbott,
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received September 01, 2018 - Published September 03, 2018

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