Calling on lawmakers to make a tough decision

Without going into the details of either Senator McGuire’s bill SB114 or the Governors Bill SB128, I would say both approaches get right at the problem, which is smoothing the oil price volatility in our single commodity economy. Both bills are just variations on the same idea, using the earnings reserve to provide long term fiscal stability to our economy.

This is a crucial year for our state of Alaska and its going to take legislators who have very thick skin to make the tough decision to use the permanent fund earnings reserve to help fund the fiscal gap. All the research and accounting point to the same solution — we must tap into the earnings reserve to 1) fund the fiscal gap and 2) to protect our future permanent fund dividends.

If our legislature does not act this session, it will be an egregious shirking of their responsibility to protect our Alaskan future and way of life.

I know this is an extremely painful decision for many legislators to make. Our permanent fund is sacred to Alaskans but the only way to save our dividend’s future is to pass SB114 or SB128. I am in full support of my Senator, Peter Micciche, to use the earnings reserve to provide long term fiscal stability to our economy.

It is crucial that we all speak up and support our legislators during this difficult time. If we expect them to make these tough decisions, we should be more than willing to help carry the burden and go on record in support. I encourage all the citizens on the Kenai Peninsula to write a letter to their legislators and give them your support to use a portion of the earnings reserve. The permanent fund was created for exactly this kind of situation, because previous lawmakers had the wisdom to know that the oil money wouldn’t always be there.

We don’t have an alternative at this point. We have to act now. I offer my utmost support and encouragement to the legislature to pass either SB114 or SB128 before the session ends next month.