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Opinion: Look to oil companies, not Permanent Fund for revenue

The time is now!

  • Monday, July 12, 2021 11:30am
  • Opinion

By Ian Martin

As our Legislature and governor continue to whittle away at the Permanent Fund Dividend, one must take notice of the current price of oil. You don’t hear the politicians talking much about this, so I thought it would be good to point out that oil is now approaching $75 a barrel and is projected to continue on this current upward trend.

As a result of mismanagement by many of our state’s current and previous elected officials, Alaska has been struggling to balance the budget and now these same elected officials want us to believe that butchering the PFD is the only way to pay for the state services that Alaskans rely on. The reason why the state is in this predicament is because the politicians put all of our eggs in one basket. That basket being oil.

When forecasting what is the best economic decisions to help our state continue to be financially secure, it’s certainly not wise to bet the whole farm on one aspect of our economy, and that is exactly what has happened in Alaska politics for many years. If you’re going to tell us that we need to sacrifice the PFD and state services such as the Alaska Marine Highway System, because oil prices have tanked. You better be ready to tell us that you will keep your hands off of our PFD and restore services when the oil prices recover.

Why do our elected officials continue to resist increasing taxes on the oil companies, who have reaped huge profits from our state for decades, while enjoying an incredibly low tax burden? The corporate lobbyists will tell you that now is not the time to increase taxes on the oil companies. When is the time? The time is now!

• Ian Martin resides in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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