July 30, 2019
PAEC: Secure a Stable Financial Future for Alaska
On behalf of Calista Corporation’s Public Advocacy and Education Committee (PAEC), we urge the gridlock between the state Legislature and the Governor to end so that we may pass the state’s capital budget and issue a permanent fund dividend (PFD), including money for the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund.
There is too much at stake. The people of our region already face some of the harshest challenges in the nation including the highest cost of fuel and living expenses, the lowest wages, severe public safety issues, graduation rates well-below the national average, little basic infrastructure and no roads connecting communities.
We are already seeing significant out migration from our region due to the high cost of living and recent cuts to the permanent fund dividend. The lack of fiscal stability will only make this problem worse.
Our communities rely on state and federal funding to administer key government services, education, public safety, health care facilities, housing access, and social services. These are basic services available to all U.S. citizens. Many programs require state and federal matches that should not be dropped due to the lack of agreement between the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.
The Administration and Legislature must recognize the differences between rural and urban Alaska; any spending reductions cannot continue to disproportionately impact rural communities and residents. A sustainable budget that provides regulatory and economic stability will enhance the State’s competitiveness for all industries. The PAEC supports the State of Alaska achieving fiscal and economic stability by reducing spending to an affordable level on a sustainable basis, while ensuring rural Alaska is not continually and disproportionately impacted by budget cuts.
Lastly, the PFD is also vital to our communities, as it provides much needed income to our residents and reduces the poverty rate. Alaska needs to put in place a fiscal plan that includes budget reductions, revenue from taxes and use of the earnings reserve to preserve these services as well as PFDs.
Andrew Guy, Calista Corp. President/CEO
Robert Beans, PAEC Chair