Dear AVCP Delegates,
It is my understanding that half of the 56 member-tribes of the independent Association of Village Council Presidents, Inc (AVCP), contract, if not compact their own BIA programs and services under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.
Isn’t it about time that the other 20+ AVCP tribes started contracting some or all-of-their BIA 638 programs?
We know that it’s a sovereignty right for dependent AVCP tribes to continue empowering the AVCP Administration by village resolutions to administer on their behalf but what AVCP compacted villages don’t realize is how much indirect fund is involved that AVCP, Inc. retains and spends or that creates additional jobs in the Bethel-based AVCP, Inc. offices.
For every BIA 638 program that AVCP, Inc compacts for the village, there is a $20,000 indirect cost reimbursement and in this example ten (10) BIA programs multiplied by 20,000 equals to $200,000 and multiplied by 23 villages equals to $4 million dollars. This is just my example about as close as I can get on the basis-of-estimate and that is how much money AVCP, Inc gets to pay for indirect costs from compacting your BIA programs.
AVCP, Inc must foster self-determination to the rest of the AVCP compacted villages for the purpose of what the federal legislation of ISDA of 1975 was intended for; continuing the status quo of not giving control of BIA programs to the dependent villages is just doing the opposite of the benefits of self-determination – fostering more dependency like a parent that is allowing his child not to grow up even into his adulthood and elder aged years.
Therefore, those of you that are dependent as AVCP Compacted villages, show your children and grand-children an example of self-determination by contracting and administering your own 638 programs because those programs belong to you and your children and their children.
The rewards of successful contracting and compacting BIA programs and services by using the tools in the ISDA can pay back in hundreds of millions of dollars such as securing billions of dollars in SBA 8A in federal contracting.
Homer Hunter, Jr.
Mark Begich & Debra Call for Alaska
I like having solid, concrete plans. I want the people of Alaska to know where I stand, what I want to accomplish, and how I plan to do it.
This grassroots network works the same way. I’m the only candidate in this Governor’s race who’s released plans on some of the biggest issues our state is facing.
I have a plan to support our salmon fisheries, which starts by supporting Proposition 1. I have a plan to reduce the crime rate and make our communities safer. I have a plan to protect women and families, improve our education system, and ensure PFDs are properly managed and continue for future generations of Alaskans.
This campaign isn’t about me, it’s about the future of this state. I know what kind of Alaska I want to build — one where we all prosper, together. I want you to know my plans, as well.
If you can, help us win this election and make our plans a reality. Thank you.
Tracking the Outside Money in Alaska Politics
Since its inception, the Alaska Policy Forum has been guided by a vision of continuously growing prosperity in Alaska. Our work is to support policy and leadership that maximizes individual opportunity and empowers Alaskans to pursue that opportunity freely and with confidence.
We believe in our state and its people. We are optimistic and believe a bright future lies ahead. To ensure that bright future, Alaska’s voters and policymakers need to be able to make informed decisions based on a solid foundation of knowledge, transparency, and clarity regarding issues that will shape our path forward.
Too often, in today’s political landscape, that’s simply not possible.
This is, in part, because the high-profile debates currently underway in Alaska are being increasingly influenced by an influx of serious money from outside of our state. This growing pool of funding is being used to distort debates and advance agendas that are driven not by the best interests of our state, but by activists, advocates, foundations, and billionaires from all over the country.
This money is changing the face of policy in Alaska, and it’s doing so behind closed doors. That’s bad for our state and runs contrary to the principles of sound policymaking.
That’s why the Alaska Policy Forum is launching a new site focused on detailing and chronicling the Outside money that is impacting policy in Alaska and putting the agendas of environmental activists ahead of our own.
This isn’t a new or unfamiliar dynamic for our state. For decades, Outside environmental interests opposed to resource development in Alaska have sought to influence local, state, and federal decisions impacting Alaska policy – like opening up ANWR. They continue to do so today and one prominent advocacy campaign stands out as the flagship of their effort: Ballot Measure 1.
Ballot Measure 1 would overhaul the way Alaska regulates permitting for development projects ranging from energy infrastructure to roads and bridges. Supporters of Ballot Measure 1 state they are acting to protect salmon. The reality of Ballot Measure 1 is much different and it has the potential to have a serious detrimental impact on both existing and future economic development in Alaska. What’s more, implementation would require additional state spending to meet the regulatory requirements. The burden of the policies enacted by Ballot Measure 1 would fall upon state regulators, creating an ever-larger strain on our already strapped state budget.
Who, then, is behind Ballot Measure 1? Those supporting Ballot Measure 1 include a handful of local groups, including the official Yes for Salmon campaign as well as Stand for Salmon, the Alaska Center, Salmon State, and Wild Salmon Center organizations.
But the money behind those groups isn’t local. In fact, there’s a web of outside money behind Yes for Salmon.
Take the New Venture Fund, a Washington, DC-based entity with a long history of dropping into local debates with big money and big ideas about how to shape local issues in a way that advances broader environmentalist priorities. The New Venture Fund contributed at least $400,000 to help establish Salmon State and they are also listed as the employer of the Alaska Center activist managing the Yes for Salmon effort.
But the Outside money in Alaska goes much deeper than this. Nearly all of the money New Venture Fund pumped into Salmon State came from the California-based Hewlett Foundation – another group known for extreme climate activism.
Other big names – like billionaire activist Tom Steyer and Keystone XL agitators Bold Alliance – are plying their trade in Alaska in an effort to impose an agenda contrary to our own.
Alaskans deserve to know who’s pulling the strings in our state. In the coming weeks, the Alaska Policy Forum will be looking into the Outside money that is impacting policy in Alaska. Our mission is to empower and educate Alaskans and policymakers, and ultimately to help cultivate a pro-growth policy environment built on principles of transparency and honesty.
The debate we have today will inform the decisions we make at the ballot box and will in turn shape our state’s future. We’ll be there every step of the way, working to shed light on the web of Outside money behind Yes for Salmon – and broader efforts to derail Alaska’s economic success.
Larry Barsukoff, JD/MBA
Director of Operations
Alaska Policy Forum
A deficit of trust
Over the past four years, Alaska’s political class has focused on addressing the state’s budget deficit, and rightly so. When the price of oil crashed, the state found itself facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit. But as our campaign hears from everyday Alaskans across this great land, a deficit more corrosive to the health of our republic is emerging: a deficit of trust. Alaskans are leery of politicians who say one thing and do another.
When Bill Walker ran for office in 2014, he said he had “no intention” of cutting Permanent Fund dividend checks. Not long after his inauguration, however, he was singing a different tune. In the span of three years, his administration denied every man, woman and child in Alaska over $3,700 each.
The governor’s dividend-cut policy isn’t wrong solely because it’s bad for the economy – paying Alaskans a full dividend would provide a tremendous boost to Alaska, which suffers from anemic growth, high unemployment, and outmigration. It’s wrong because it severed trust between the people and their representatives.
The Alaska Permanent Fund and dividend program were established by the people in 1976 and 1982, respectively. The people were wise enough then to know politicians would be tempted to spend away the oil boom and so constitutionally protected some of the revenue and created the dividend program to protect the fund.
Since 1982, the dividend program has worked as intended, protecting the fund while benefitting Alaskan families. Then suddenly – after more than three decades – the deal changed. Walker unilaterally cut dividends at the worst possible time and without direct input from the people.
If given the opportunity to serve, mending the trust deficit created by Walker will be my top priority. It’s no secret that I am the only candidate in this race who supports protecting the traditional PFD formula. But I also believe the people of Alaska should settle this issue directly, which is why I support going to the people for an advisory vote before any changes are considered to the PFD – at minimum – and ultimately believe the people should have the opportunity to vote on protecting the PFD in the state constitution.
In our system of government, the people are sovereign, and no change to the Permanent Fund would long survive without their direct consent. Such a vote would restore trust between the people and government officials, and the outcome would be respected on all sides. If the people were wise enough to establish the Permanent Fund and a spending limit, then there’s no reason to doubt their wisdom in dealing with today’s challenges.
Despite the failed leadership of the current governor on this and many other issues, he wants another four years, and is vying with lifelong politician Mark Begich for the chance to accelerate a tax and spend agenda.
In every town hall, forum and debate, Walker and Begich are in vigorous agreement. They say we must cut the PFD to save it, that new taxes are inevitable and state spending has been cut to the bone. They’re convinced that wise decision makers in government know how to spend your money better than you do.
But Alaskans aren’t buying it. We know the PFD isn’t broken and state government spends roughly three times the national average per person. That’s why Alaskans support more reductions to state spending, oppose new taxes and know the enemy of the budget isn’t the PFD – it’s out-of-control spending.
Unless we get spending under control, government will consume the other half of Alaskans’ PFDs, and no amount of new taxes will be enough. That’s the path my opponents will take us down. I hope to lead us down a different path.
If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, then Alaskans can be confident I will remain true to my word. I voted on behalf of my constituents against a budget that didn’t pay Alaskans a full dividend, because I knew there was a better way. Alaska is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and enough financial assets to get us through this challenge. With the right leadership and policies in place, we can resolve the budget deficit without PFD cuts and new taxes. If we control state spending and maintain a competitive, stable business climate, Alaska will grow its way out of the deficit.
Elections are about trust. With your help, together we can restore trust in our government and ensure everyday Alaskans have a voice in the big decisions ahead.
Mike Dunleavy is a candidate for governor of Alaska. A public school teacher, principal and superintendent for more than two decades in Koyuk, Kotzebue and the Mat-Su Valley, Dunleavy served on the Mat-Su Borough School Board and in the Alaska State Senate.