It has been my honor to humbly serve the Calista Shareholders for 20 plus years. The beginning of my tenure was an important yet critical time for Calista. As stressful as the decision during the 80s was regarding whether or not to declare Bankruptcy, our decision to re-build, while taking years to accomplish, has led to our current financial strength. We have rebuilt steadily through a variety of ways; creating joint ventures with strong business partners; diversifying our holding lines; and implementing shareholder hire.
Calista has solidified financially enough to now include the descendants of our shareholders born after December 18, 1971, as was the shareholders’ desire. This affirmative vote occurred last year and we are in the process of gathering applications for inclusion.
The Akilista Fund, our dividend fund, started at zero and now has a balance of over 67 million. The creation of a Shareholder Dividend Policy has been developed with the goal towards maintaining a healthy balance which will enable us to provide future Dividends/distributions.
I have been instrumental in helping create and preserve Shareholder’s interests for transparency, accountability, and integrity in Calista Board’s actions. We have passed resolutions that transferred control from the Board elections to the shareholders which include:
**Elimination of the Board Slate and Eliminate cumulative voting of Non-Direct votes.
**Board Chair Term Limits
**Required Periodic Annual meetings in Bethel and Anchorage
Please consider voting for me, Margaret Pohjola, to represent you on the Calista Board. My upbringing in the subsistence lifestyle, and my business degree from UAA is the combination that is needed now on the Board to help answer some of the tough questions we will have in the future. Quyana.
Zinke’s message brings hope to Arctic Iñupiat
This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke spent time visiting our region in Alaska’s Arctic. Throughout his trip, Zinke remarked about the potential of our state, the central role Alaska Natives must play in realizing that potential, and the need for government to “get out of the way” and allow local peoples to chart their own course. We couldn’t agree more.
Alaska Natives have become disheartened by pledges of consultation only to read about decisions affecting our region in national newspapers; statements advocating for economic opportunity in the Arctic while closing our region with the stroke of a pen; and agendas driven by the effects of climate change in the Arctic without regard for the people most affected by them.
We’ve grown weary of Presidents, environmentalists and special interest groups doing things “for us.” In reality, their actions are often self-serving of their agendas and we are nothing more than a prop in their campaign. As Secretary Zinke pointed out, it is the people of Alaska and the Arctic that are the real resource, not the polar bears that fund global environmental campaigns or the massive resource potential of our lands and waters. We are worth protecting, and we appreciate the actions by the Secretary to finally give us a seat at the table. After all, it is our table.
We also appreciate Secretary Zinke taking the time to listen to us about the needs of our people. What we need is balance, consultation, jobs, a stable economy and a healthy environment. Most of all, we need and deserve the ability to drive policies and activities in our region instead of outside interest groups and policy makers in Washington D.C. driving it for us.
Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat (VOICE) was established to advocate for increased collaboration on activities in our region – like the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – reasonable regulations and mitigation measures, and maximum control over our subsistence way of life. Too often, groups have attempted to act “in our best interests” without recognizing we are fully capable. We can and do speak for ourselves on behalf of our people, region and future generations of Iñupiat.
It is in our best interest to have a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We will not be victims of climate change but we will also not allow our people to return to the harsh way of life before the momentous discovery of Prudhoe Bay. The Iñupiat are an adaptive people. We are and will continue to evolve to our environment and the opportunities and challenges it brings.
We want a sustainable future, and have always held that resource development and environmental protection can and do co-exist. After all, we’ve been orchestrating this balance since the discovery of oil in our backyard decades ago. We cannot afford to ignore the benefits that resource development provides us. From jobs, schools, local governments, infrastructure investments, Alaska Native businesses and scientific research to simple amenities such as running water and fuel for our whaling boats – we recognize that modern and innovative resource development literally powers our region.
As one of his last actions in Alaska, Secretary Zinke spoke about the importance of collaboration and consultation with Alaska Natives, and signed Secretarial Order 3352 providing for clean and safe development of energy resources in Alaska and beyond, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily prevent development, and constrain job growth and economic development.
Thank you, Secretary Zinke, for your commitment to restoring trust among Alaska Natives and for taking concrete steps toward allowing decisions in our region to be driven by the local people. VOICE looks forward to working with you and the U.S. Department of Interior over the next four years to improve consultation, co-management and science-based action in the Arctic.
Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat (VOICE) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization established to provide direct input from the Iñupiat people in matters of Arctic policy. VOICE’s membership includes 20 of the 28 entities from across the North Slope including tribal councils, municipal governments and Alaska Native corporations.
Sayers Tuzroyluk, Sr.
President, Voice of the Arctic Inupiat
It’s time to listen
For years, Republicans in the legislature have stonewalled all efforts to create a stable, durable fiscal plan. This must stop. We cannot accept a plan simply because it averts a government shut down this year, while all but guaranteeing one next year. The can has been kicked far enough and it’s time for a long-term solution.
Like all of us, the Governor is distressed by the looming possibility of a government shut down and the damage it would inflict on Alaskans. He hoped to put together a proposal that would appeal to all sides, but the end product fell far short of the mark. His proposal is weak, and inadequate, and will put us right back in the same spot next year. It is inexplicable.
Alaska voters made a dramatic statement, electing a new majority to the House of Representatives who came together to specifically put us on a path to fiscal stability. They were tired of the old ways, the old giveaways to special interests, the kicking the can down the road, the reckless ideology that supports industry over Alaskans and oil over education. This new House is the peoples’ House, made up of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents who put on their big pants and decided to work together to get something done, and right our fiscal ship. It’s time to listen.
With that said, the Governor’s proposal includes some pieces of a durable fiscal plan, but comes down on the wrong side in the details – and details can make or break a plan:
Oil & Gas: The Governor’s proposal retains the most harmful aspects of HB111 without offering a real fix. It sounds good now, but this proposal actually puts us in a far worse financial dilemma in the future. The “fix” is no fix. Further, it allows the Senate Majority to gives an extra $288 Million in tax credits above our required amount emptying our statutory savings, instead of fully funding education.
Use of the Permanent Fund Earnings: The Governor proposes using the Senate’s version of SB-26. That means a lower PFD ($1,000 instead of the $1,250 in the House version), a high draw against our savings accounts, and less money available to inflation-proof the fund.
The dividend is not protected: Not only does the Senate version of SB-26 proposed by the Governor cut the dividend down to $1,000, it give the legislature the power to determine IF Alaskans even receive one at all. The Senate plan uses only the Permanent Fund as a revenue source. They decry a tax on “working Alaskans” while picking the pockets of EVERY Alaskan including children’s college funds, and the elderly’s safety net. They plan to use your Permanent Fund money and run a deficit for the better part of a decade. We need a balanced/fair plan to protect your dividend from this kind of reckless fiscal policy.
The dividend connects all Alaskans to the Permanent Fund and is essential to ensuring its long term survival. It belongs to all of us and must be protected. The only way to do this is through a Constitutional amendment decided by the people, and yet that option is not even on the table.
New Revenue: The crux of a stable fiscal plan is to diversify the State’s sources of revenue. This proposal starts down that path, but never arrives. The “Head Tax” proposed must be adjusted to truly be a fair and equitable broad-based tax. One of the purposes of the proposed income tax was to balance out the disproportionate impact on average Alaskan families from the Senate Majority’s PFD cuts. An income tax would mean wealthy Alaskans and non-resident workers would share this burden. Most importantly, it closes the budget gap. The “Head Tax” accomplishes the goal of ensuring out-of-state workers pay something, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough and lays more burden on lower and middle income Alaskans.
The bottom line is the Senate Majority doesn’t address new revenue at all – it simply uses the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve Account to fund government for another year, and reduces your dividend to do it. The Governor’s proposal uses the House’s operating budget which restores K-12 education cuts and university funding. Again, it sounds great, but without addressing revenue, that full funding will be on the chopping block again next year, and the year after, until we face reality.
After careful review of the Governor’s proposed compromise, it is clear that if Alaska is to find a sound financial footing, the answer must come from the legislature and not the Governor. The House Majority laid out the blue-print for a resilient Alaska. Unfortunately, the Senate Majority and the Governor are not on a path that get us to that ultimate goal.
Sen. Berta Gardner, Senate Democratic Leader