We are a diverse group of Alaskan individuals and organizations joined together to promote a solution to the budget deficit that threatens Alaska’s future. We come from all walks of life, all fields of endeavor, and urban and rural areas across the state. We include business, labor, Alaska Native organizations, nonprofits, members of all political parties and former public officials. In ordinary times it would be difficult to find a single issue upon which we all agree.
These are not ordinary times. The state’s deep and worsening budget deficit puts our way of life, our prosperity, our children’s future, and the lifestyle that we treasure as Alaskans at unacceptable risk.
We have studied the numbers and concluded that every conceivable solution to Alaska’s budget deficit requires using Permanent Fund earnings to support essential public services. We also believe that a sustainable Permanent Fund Dividend and enduring Permanent Fund must be part of any solution.
We know that the use of Permanent Fund earnings by itself is not a complete solution and that other shared sacrifices will be required. However, we also know that use of Permanent Fund earnings is the only single action that makes any material difference to how long our savings will last.
We understand that Alaska’s budget challenge may not be solved in a single legislative session; however, this step is the only step that can provide the time that may be required to forge those compromises necessary to develop and implement the remaining elements of a comprehensive solution. If we do not take this first step of using Permanent Fund earnings in 2016, immediate economic adversity will follow, we will have squandered options that are available today, and our future will be at even greater risk.
This is an unacceptable outcome. We join together in consensus that during the 2016 session, the Legislature must take the necessary step of using a material amount of Permanent Fund Earnings to reduce the state deficit.
We do not endorse any particular plan or level of dividend. Those specifics are for the Legislature to decide. We may individually have differing opinions on these or other elements of a comprehensive plan. We commit to work cooperatively to forge agreement on other shared sacrifices and to create a sustainable budget structure that goes beyond just the Permanent Fund earnings. Above all, we agree that everything we treasure about our life as Alaskans requires us to take the necessary first step in 2016 to use Permanent Fund earnings, maintain a sustainable dividend, and assure an enduring Permanent Fund for our future.
We have joined together to achieve our agreed Mission.