Alaska residents see the oil level getting smaller and smaller, leading to a showdown

FILE 2015: student Shania summer, of Palmer, Alaska, is well-known that almost every Alaskan will receive $2,072 from the annual oil-dividend check during a press conference in Anchorage, Alaska.


The joke is that Alaska is so rich that it pays its residents to live here. But these annual reviews become smaller, and could change a lot, when Alaska is struggling to pay the national guardsmen and fix streets in the midst of years of low oil prices.

After the oil flows began from the North coast of Alaska in the late 1970s, the tests, which were finally paid for it with revenue from an oil wealth Fund, the approximately $65 billion in investments.

The times were so good that the state is repealed in the year 1980, the personal income tax, make a decision that is politically impossible to reverse, as the state of a Multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.

Now, with your options for the deficit, the legislature shrinkage may have no other choice than the result from the Alaska Permanent Fund, the government pays his bills.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker speaks by phone with a reporter who is not physically present for the media availability at the governor’s mansion in Juneau, Alaska.


Over the years, the size of the residents ‘ annual inspections, the performance varies on the basis of the market, an average of about $1,145. It reached an all-time high of $2,072 2015 — a total of more than an additional $10,000 for a family of five-on-the-heads-of-state viewing began some use of the Fund result for the government, the cost and Gov. Bill Walker limited the payout.

The prospect didn’t sit well with some.

“I’m not ready to give you something,” said Clem Tillion, a former state legislator and longtime permanent fund defender, the sued with the other unsuccessful, the Walker, the halving of the dividend checks in the year 2016.

Alaska received more than 156,000 square miles of land as a “dowry” to the rule of law, mineral rights belong to the people, Tillion said. The tests are for their share, he said.

Important proposals for the use of the Fund income include the change in how the checks are calculated, fueling a political debate, race, and spill this year, the Governor elections and the legislature.

The possibilities are limited: With the oil revenues will not be able to sustain the state budget, savings accounts, drawn low, to see the Republicans, new or higher taxes as unnecessary, and Democrats against deeper budget cuts, what remains, are the revenues from the state’s rainy-day Fund.

Fund a result, an estimate could total around $ 16 billion by the end of the financial year, if the legislature saw only a fraction of it. The legislature is expected to continue until the end of your session in mid-April but has run long, in the last few years.

The controls are widely considered to be a privilege — free money available for many Alaskans but critical income to the people, particularly low-income residents in high cost rural communities, where a Liter of milk costs about$10.

The decision, first the Walker, then the legislature, not to follow the formula in the law for the dividend calculations in the last two years, fueled has to say anger and distrust among some Alaskans, the fear of a money grab, even as state leaders, they are motivated by the desire to protect, a dividend in the future.

“I don’t think,” said Jeff Taylor, a single father in the small village of Anderson’s parents, about 75 miles southwest of Fairbanks.

Life in Alaska is tough, said Taylor, whose house is deliberately small in order to reduce heating costs. He sees the huge cheques, money from children, including his 5-year-old son.

Taylor is accused of Walker, whom he says he was “pretty sure”, he gave for 2014. Walker, an independent, cutting dividends in 2016 at $1,022. The legislature agreed, to a similar reduced amount in the past year.

“Now, I would prefer to sit him on his hands and do not touch anything until the next election is over,” said Taylor.

Walker, who has unsuccessfully tax pushed-to help proposals to fill the deficit, is by his actions. He and legislative leaders to rotate preferably to the permanent Fund into a Foundation, where a portion of the revenues would be drawn, based on an average of Fund market value.

In the framework of the existing proposals, which vary in their draw rates, the split, could go to the state government in the range of about two-thirds to three-quarters, the rest for residents. The annual first checks would be in the range of about $1,000 to $1,250.

The house majority, consisting largely of Democrats, and the Republican-led Senate are at odds on what should be done, before a final change of the dividend.

With higher oil prices and improved production, according to estimates by the massive North slope, there is no need to discuss, taxes, now, said the President of the Senate Pete Kelly, a Fairbanks Republican.

The state revenue Commissioner Sheldon Fisher noticed with a rosier price outlook, Alaska is facing a deficit of about $2.3 billion.

The permanent Fund, the principal is protected in the country Constitution and the checks. House leaders have fancied a change with the idea that, although the legislative legal adviser, Doug Gardner, said the Constitution, a certain quantity could be guaranteed legally wrong against legislative appropriations and gubernatorial veto.

A proposed constitutional amendment, two-thirds return would have to stop in the house and Senate before going to voters.

While many Alaskans support protection for the annual checks, they demanded a more equitable distribution between your share and the government.

Don Fritz said he is a longtime Alaska resident and in between jobs, although he said his wife says he is retired. He said, the dividend belongs in the Constitution. At best, he said it should compete with other programs for funding.

“To me, it is one of the many things that need to be prioritized,” such as public safety and education, he said.

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