Akiak Annual Clean Up Green Up 2017

We would like to recognize the community members of Akiak in their efforts to keep Akiak trash free. The annual clean up green up group commends the households that utilize the Akiak trash hauling and recycling program.

In previous years, we’ve had mountains of torn household trash bags dotted throughout the community. The clean-up group would pick them up and put them into ALPAR bags to haul to the landfill. Thru the dates 5/06/17, 5/22/17, and 5/23/17, the individuals have picked up a total of 139 bags of trash.

Quyana Akiarmiut menuitengnaqluci yuuluci. Menuitengnaqneq ellmaunrituq. (Thank you Akiak community members for trying to live in an environmentally cleaner village. It is not a small task, it’s an effort for everyone.)

Our Clean-Up Green Up program would like to thank the following entities and organizations for their generous donations: Akiak Native Community, City of Akiak, Edith Kawagley Memorial Clinic, Donlin Gold, ALPAR and the Alaska Commercial Company.

We’d like to thank the parents, aunts, and uncles for encouraging the following individuals who participated for three days: Micah Albrite, Darren Albrite, Waylon Charles, Rozlyn Dock, Aiden Ivan, Jacob Ivan, Destiny Ramos, Jade Ramos, and Kris Williams. Also to those who participated for two days: Jamie Albrite, Chloe Alexie, Natalia Andrews, Selena Charles, Sam Charles, Brooke Dock, Jordan Ivan, Teeney Ivan, Joyce Pete, Arthur Philip, Cray Phillip, Kailee Phillip, Lauren Phillip, Mary Phillip, Tyson Phillip, John Ramos V, Zachariah Ramos, and Daveion Jasper.

Last but not least for the one day participants: Chasity Albrite, Trinity Albrite, Tyresha Andrews, Kaitlyn Charles, Sonya Dock, Wassillie Evan, Angelina Gilila, Kayden Gilila, Minnie Gilila, Caleb Jackson, Carson Jackson, Cynthia Jackson, Taylor Jackson, Sean Jackson, Avery Jasper, Matthew Jasper, Milton Kashatok, Katheryn Kawagley, Melgie Kozevnikoff, Autumn Ray Napoka, Leo Nose, AnnaMae Owen, Nelson Owen Jr., Fedushia Sergie, Aarolyn Williams, Dosie Ayapan, and Bessie Williams.

We’d also like to thank the adult supervisors for being on call and were willing to walk with the participants who were really on the go to pick up trash, through rain or shine. Quyana Charity Jasper, Theresa Williams, Fred Johnson, Theodore Pete, Katie Phillip, Ashley Suskuk, and Nelson Jackson I.

Akiarmiuni quyanaqvall’ ilakuyulluci yuungnaqluci (Thank you community of Akiak for living together by helping each other.)

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Lena Foss and Ashley Suskuk
Akiak, AK

Walker & Mallott file for re-election

Dear Alaskans,

This week we filed for reelection as independents as we seek to continue serving the state and the people we love.

Many say it is the most fiscally challenging time in Alaska’s history. Some very hard and unpopular decisions have been made in order to address the state’s 80% decline in revenue resulting in a nearly $4 billion deficit.

The good news is that by shrinking the deficit to $700 million we are moving in the right direction. Brighter days are on the horizon. Stabilizing our fiscal situation will result in renewed confidence and investment in our state. And that of course, means jobs and new opportunities.

As two lifelong Alaskans whose children and grandchildren continue to call Alaska “home,” our goal is to do the hard work today to ensure that this and future generations have the unparalleled opportunities they deserve. Every day, we work to earn your confidence as we draw upon the help of all Alaskans to finish the job you sent us to do.

Bill Walker & Byron Mallott
Juneau, AK

Here’s my Alaska fiscal prediction — and may events prove me wrong

Dear fellow Alaskans,

This is my analysis of the fiscal mess we are in. What I am about to share with you is my prediction of what will come about next session. I feel like Cassandra, “being able to predict the future, but no one is listening.”

Here is what is going to happen. By the way, these numbers have been reviewed and corroborated by the Governor’s budget office and Department of Revenue and the Legislative Finance Division.

Total fiscal year 2019 general fund budget — $5.5 billion — includes the operating budget to match this year’s level of services, state debt, a modest capital budget as well as the Permanent Fund dividend at this year’s amount.

The total general fund revenue that we can responsibly forecast is about $1.8 billion. If you subtract this from the total budget, you come to an approximately $3.7 billion deficit. Since we have essentially used up almost all of our reserves, we have to fund this deficit through a draw on the Permanent Fund. Technically, the Legislature is allowed to draw down the earnings reserve. In my opinion, that is part of the Permanent Fund.

The Permanent Fund is about $60 billion, as of Aug. 11. A 5 percent draw is around $3 billion and a 6 percent is $3.5 billion. A 6.5 percent draw would take care of the deficit. We are going to be backed into this situation because we have no other alternative due to inaction by past legislatures.

Enacting various taxes, i.e. motor fuel, fish, mining, alcohol, will take a year to collect. Enacting a modest income tax will take at least a year to realize its potential. Reducing the budget to “right-size the government” is a real option but who is going to do this? Even if the budget was reduced by $200 million to $400 million over a two-year period, we still would need to seriously tap the Permanent Fund. As you may know, well-run college foundations are taking only 4 percent to 4.5 percent each year, the amount experts say is a draw that’s sustainable and allows for inflation proofing. As my father used to say, “Inflation is a thief in the night.”

Even if you can reduce the budget by, say, $400 million, you still have a deficit of around $3.3 billion to fund.

What I am alluding to is that we have to come up with revenues and reductions in the operating budget. As some Alaskans say, “We have to right-size the government before we institute more taxes — especially an income tax.” If the Senate or House cannot agree on reductions, I suggest that the Legislature and governor come up with a “Blue Ribbon Committee” to make the necessary reductions — Alaska’s own BRAC Commission, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that Congress established to help make those tough decisions.

By allowing ourselves to get into this situation, we are imperiling the corpus of the Permanent Fund.

So, I predict that we will take a 6 percent-plus draw from the Permanent Fund next year with little reduction in the budget, along with much discussion on additional revenue sources and a further “kick the can” approach, especially during an election year.

We know what has to be done. Many in the Legislature know this and the governor knows this. But, unless we can agree to agree, we will see a steady decline in the Permanent Fund with no solution in sight.

I hope I am wrong in my prediction.

Edward Rasmuson
Anchorage, AK