The Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire File)

The Capitol building in Juneau, Alaska. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire File)

Voices of the Peninsula: Dividends don’t grow on trees

“Without taxing for the extraction of our oil, there will be no dividends.”

When I was seven, I read a book, “The Little Red Hen.” The Little Red Hen found four stocks of wheat her farmer had dropped. The Little Red Hen thought to herself, “If I plant the grain from these stocks of wheat, the seeds will grow enough grain to make a loaf of bread.”

One at a time, the Little Red Hen asked the pig, the cat and the duck, if they would help her plant the wheat so she could make some bread. One by one, the pig, the cat and the duck all refused to help plant the grain. When ask to help harvest the grain, they all said, “No, no, no!” They refused to grind the wheat into flower and they refused to help make the bread.

The Little Red Hen did everything herself. But when the smell of fresh baked bread came wafting through the barnyard, they all came running to help eat the bread. The Little Red Hen said, “No, no, no, I’m going to eat it myself.”

I’m reminded of this story every time I hear that whining sound, “Where’s my PFD?” And one of the loudest echoes of “Where’s my PFD” is coming from the Kenai Peninsula — where voters have for decades elected senators and representatives who absolutely refuse to vote to tax for the extraction of the oil we all own.

DIVIDENDS DON’T GROW ON TREES. Without taxing for the extraction of our oil, there will be no dividends.

In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, I helped the FBI put six of my fellow elected legislators behind bars for taking bribes in exchange for their votes to prevent the state from taxing for the extraction of our oil. For the six years that followed, legislators taking bribes were no longer in control of our Legislature. In year one of no bribes, every Alaskan got a $3,200 dividend and Alaska immediately went from suffering billions in deficits to a $3 billion-a-year surplus. During the six years of no bribes, Alaska saved up $17 billion.

But in 2014, with the help of Kenai Peninsula voters, the oil companies regained control of Alaska’s Legislature. Senate Bill 21 was passed, deficits returned, and the $17 billion we had saved has been spent covering the deficit. Today the loudest “Where’s my PFD!” screams can be heard all the way across the Turnagain Arm.

Really want to know where your PFD went? The State doesn’t have it. Kenai Peninsula voters voted to give our PFDs to BP, Conoco, and Exxon.

Like The Little Red Hen said, “If you want a dividend, you need to pitch in and help pry it from the greedy fingers of the oil companies that stole it.” Stop voting to give our dividends to oil companies!

In 1982, Ray Metcalfe was chairman of the House State Affairs Committee that reviewed Jay Hammond’s PFD proposal, the bill that established the 50% of Permanent Fund earnings formula for PFD payouts.

• Ray Metcalfe

More in Opinion

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Addressing Kenai Peninsula’s education and public safety employee shortage

Many of our best and brightest educators take a hard and close look at the teacher’s retirement system in Alaska early in their careers and are stunned

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney greet each other outside the chamber at the U.S. Capitol on April 5, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file photo)
Opinion: Alaska’s senators and Mitt Romney

When newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, began his term five years… Continue reading

A line of voters runs out the door of the Diamond Ridge Voting Precinct at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. Chamber Executive Director Brad Anderson said he had never seen the amount of people coming through the polling place. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
How many ways can you vote?

Multiple ballot options available to voters

UAA Provost Denise Runge photographed outside the Administration and Humanities Building.
Opinion: UAA offers affordable and convenient pathways that prepare students for the next step

At UAA, we provide numerous academic programs designed to meet specific workforce needs

scales of justice (File photo)
Opinion: The Dubious Dunleavy Deal to use public dollars for personal legal costs

In 2019, these regulation changes were ultimately abandoned without public notice

A 2022 voter information pamphlet rests on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Where to find voter pamphlets

Be educated about what you are voting on

Trustees and staff discuss management and investment of the Alaska Permanent Fund. (Courtesy Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation)
Providing Alaska-based opportunities for professional talent

Expanding our in-state presence by opening a satellite office in Anchorage has been part of the fund’s strategic plan for the past four years

Ben Carson (center) visits Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla with Gov. Mike Dunleavy (to Carson’s right) on Tuesday. (Official photo from the Office of the Governor)
Opinion: Embarrassing Alaska through neglectful governance

When Gov. Mike Dunleavy learned Dr. Ben Carson would be speaking in… Continue reading

Most Read