Presented via phone to the Senate Finance
Committee in Juneau on March19th., 2012
My name is Josef Princiotta I came to Alaska in 1964 after the quake, to help.
Corporations currently benefit from rights and privileges normally understood as belonging to human beings.
However the concept, the design, the very construct that is known as the corporation is incapable of conducting itself in a manner that could be described as humane.
In its fiscal responsibilities to investors and to stockholders, the Corporation cannot ever openly state that "Enough is enough. - The deal is fair. - We are satisfied with the record breaking profits we currently enjoy.”
Enough can never be enough for a corporation.
Documented evidence supports the position that the current fiscal situation regarding the activities of the major oil resource developers doing business in and with the state of Alaska,
is more than fair.
Alaska ranks well above the majority of other resource owners - worldwide - in providing remarkable profits to the oil resource developers.
Additionally Alaska offers an intelligent
and dedicated local labor force.
The present attempt to tilt this playing field further in favor of corporation profit is to be expected.
It is the very nature of the corporation to
never be satisfied with the status quo.
Corporate greed is not an evil thing.
It is the nature of the beast.
Corporate greed brought the Oil resource
development corporations to Alaska.
An informed, attentive, dedicated and fearless legislature can protect Alaska and Alaskan citizens from being cheated, abused and consumed in this contest between
Calculated insatiable corporate greed
and Alaska's true long-range economic need.
Do not weaken Alaska's fiscal position.
Do not offer unnecessary incentives to the oil resource developers.
>>>>>>>> End of oral testimony - 3/19/12 <<<<<<<<
Testimony of : Josef Princiotta
Before The Anchorage Legislative Caucus
- 2/23/02 -
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning
My Name is Josef Princiotta,
I am an artist,
as you may already know.
I represent myself.
I will make a brief statement for the record. The balance of my testimony is in printed form.
I request that it be incorporated into the records of these proceedings.
I have been a resident of Alaska since June of 1964.
I came here to assist in the reconstruction efforts following the great earthquake of that year.
I came to Alaska to find a way to fit in and be of help to this Anchorage community and hopefully
to find a place where I might fit into the fabric of this enormously
bountiful and most beautiful state. I found both, and I stayed.
Current circumstances are leading this state toward another
earth shattering event, of far greater proportions than the quake of '64 .
The shock wave of the coming trauma, I call it "the quake of 2004"
will ripple throughout every community. It will shake the economic foundation
of the entire state. It will impact all Alaskans.
It will leave its scar on each and every one of us.
Alaska is like a ship, sinking in a sea of red ink.
We the residents of Alaska are the passengers on this metaphorical ship.
We are in fact the owners of the state of Alaska.
This state is currently maintaining the appearance of solvency
by raping our savings accounts and by liquidating our assets
while you simultaneously distribute massive dividends.
Your present fiscal policy is doomed to a catastrophic collapse.
We have seen this day coming for a long time.
You and your associates have failed to take necessary action.
We the people know what the problem is.
We can do the math.
Per capita spending in this state is completely out of scale.
The problem is you are spending money we don't have,
to provide services that are not critical to the operation of this state.
Promising every thing to every body is like a cancer.
Totally unregulated growth. You are the regulators.
We elected you to be stewards of our resources,
to use good judgment and to act responsibly.
Prioritize now, address the problem of ballooning entitlements and
reduce spending now.
With the possible exception of an additional tax on alcohol,
I oppose any additional taxing of the public, residents or tourists,
to maintain the spending frenzy that is the budget of the state of Alaska.
The very idea is an insult.
Before any tax is levied on the people, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor
should immediately take a voluntary reduction in pay and benefits of at least 25%.
That goes for the Legislature as well. All Directors of state agencies 20%
Middle managers 15% and all staff across the board an immediate reduction
of at least 10% in pay and benefits.
When the weather in Juneau is really bad,
the snow and wind are really blowing,
the streets are really icy- the call goes out
"All non-essential personnel stay home."
You have the list of non-essential personnel.
You know who they are.
The financial weather has turned really bad.
Now is the time to put out the word.
All non essential personnel stay home and seek employment elsewhere.
Ladies and Gentlemen your job has easy parts and
your job has hard parts.
You do the easy parts real well.
>>>>>>>> End of oral testimony - 2/23/02 <<<<<<<<
Back To The Top
I am opposed to any income (wage) tax, especially a progressive tax
of any kind. A sales tax taxes rural residents at a disproportionate rate as they pay more for what they buy to begin with.
Before any taxes strong budget cuts need to be made.
Budget cuts may be unpopular, but they must be made,
and someone needs to step up to the line and get this done.
There is an immediate need to control spending, and a need to
motivate at the agency and employee level, to actively question
how state functions can be prioritized and to seek the availability of
other funding sources.
I wish to challenge the legislature to address the wisdom as well
as the moral and economic propriety of continuing the PFD
The Permanent Fund was created to provide a savings account
which would accumulate and grow as the earnings could be tapped
to cover necessary budget components for which declining oil
revenues proved insufficient.
I am NOT proposing an invasion of the Permanent Fund or
any depletion of its principal. Contributions to the Permanent Fund,
and inflation proofing it must continue unabated.
What I find unconscionable is the perceived need to pay everyone for
moving to, or remaining here in Alaska.
I have NEVER taken the PFD in any year. Welfare is for charities,
and service organizations. That is why I belong to Rotary
International. I contribute to its programs, and I serve in several
It's unfortunate that so many Alaskans seem to evaluate right and
wrong, fair and unfair, largely in relation to the impact on their
personal wallet. It is equally unfortunate when they elect
representatives who are unwilling to present the facts to their
constituents and to make the tough decisions.
This year the state will mail out roughly $1 billion to every resident,
irrespective of any need-based considerations. Roughly $200-300
million of those state revenues will be needlessly siphoned off
to the U.S. Treasury in the form of income taxes.
The "budget gap" could be closed in a heartbeat if the state would
close down the PFD bribe system
The budget gap could be reduced to a modest problem if we
capped PFD's at, $500. If the shock is too much to bear, cap it at a
tolerable level with step down decreases over 3-5 years to
wean the people from the trough.
If the Cremo Plan had been put in place when first presented, today
the state of Alaska would have more than enough real income to
fully function forever.
I oppose any and all new taxes.
Expense reduction is the answer.
The budget can't be balanced with tourism unless you tax each
tourist thousands of dollars to come to Alaska!
Is there a valid economic reason to impose an income tax and keep
paying $1 billion out in PFD's each year?
There is no "budget gap". The state takes in enough revenue to fund
the expense side. Where we get into red ink is only after sending
$700-1,000 million of state revenue to every person who meets
minimum residency requirements, $200-300 million of that is sent
(indirectly) to the U.S. Treasury.
If our deficit is $1Billion Cut spending. Why is it that so many elected
representatives, whether state or federal, refuse to understand this
when they are spending someone else's money?
If it's your personal finances, what do you do when your income
drops? You cut your spending. Why is this so hard to understand,
when it relates to government?
Back To The Top
A Plan That Would Work:
Cut state spending to balance the budget this year and every year,
regardless of the impact on state services. That is what balance is.
Whatever the amount, cut an adequate amount from spending to
balance the budget, without pulling it from reserves.
If we don't have the money-we don't have the money.
Solving this problem will not be easy or pleasant. But you weren't
elected to get paid and NOT do what is right.
We want and need spending reductions and we need them now.
Tell the people the truth and do it now.
The state must do as all citizens and businesses do when in financial
straits. Cut back. I have heard very little from the legislature
about cutting payroll, cutting non-essential services and cutting
I am sure that there is much Governmental waste.
Start with trimming the Government fat first.
The state has the largest number of employment ads, when I
look in the Anchorage Daily News classifieds. Not only does the
state have the most ads, but the wages offered are higher than
their private sector counterpart. Why?
What is the annual payroll expenditure is for the state of Alaska?
How much money would a 10% reduction be equal to? Maybe not
enough to fill the so-called gap, but, it's a start.
Or reduce each department budget by 10%, or at least by 5%.
You should assemble a panel of 13 state residents,
give them each red pens and let them have a look at the budget.
I am available for the job.
I am not the only Alaskan that views our budget (overspending) gap
this way. The answer is not to take more money from the residents,
but to live within your/our means.
ALASKANS NEED RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT NOW.
ALASKANS NEED LEGISLATORS TO BE RESPONSIBLE NOW.
Back To The Top
"A Debt To Society"?
Perhaps there is a way to save money within the Department of
and assist inmates in returning to society in better shape than they
when they entered the system.
If a person has been judged guilty of a state crime that requires them
to repay their "Debt To Society" by being imprisoned, is not the expense
of that imprisonment, namely being housed and fed by the state,
a further "Debt To Society"?
I seems that a system of assessing a daily charge to the account of the
for the food, laundry service, and other facilities and services
consumed by the
inmate, should be considered a part of their debt as well.
The inmate, upon entering a correctional facility could be given the
of "level of comfort" they will have during the period of their
and informed of the charges attached thereto.
There would be a price for having a color TV and a lower one for black
a softer bed costs more than some other, a cell with one cell mate
more expensive than a cell with 19 cell mates.
There would be a menu ranging from peanut butter and jelly to
burgers and fries, with the price scaled accordingly.
During incarceration there would be ways for the inmate to "Earn"
toward the payment of the accruing bill.
Credit could be earned by working in service to the facility or by
and then obtaining a GED or gaining any other academic degree.
Perhaps this would be done by correspondence or within the facility's
At the end of the period of incarceration, the balance of the account
would be payable on a sliding scale not to exceed 10% of the earnings
of the convicted felon after they have re-entered society.
Full payment may not be possible under this plan and it is not to be
in all cases.
The requirement to repay would keep the convicted "in touch" with the
and keep the system "in touch" with the convicted.
Thereby providing a vehicle for encouragement and guidance.
Perhaps there could be a method of " full forgiveness of the debt" in
service, scholastic achievement , and an exemplary attitude,
displayed by the felon during his or her incarceration.
This plan would apply the Halfway Houses as well.
Obviously this plan is not new, and it needs the input of trained
However is seems to me that this system would be of benefit to all
This concept is offered in support of the continuing effort to bring
expenses into line with its income, without further taxing an already
heavily burdened public.:
Back To The Top
Trick or treat! - Alaska's "Long-Range" fiscal plan.
Reprinted from: The Anchorage Daily News Point Counter Point
I came to Alaska in 1964, to help, after the Earthquake.
I stayed because I found Alaska. I'm happy to say I got here before the
oil companies found oil under the North Slope. I hope to be here long
after that oil is gone. The oil is still coming out of the ground in
large quantities. There may be the occasional new discovery. There may
be ANWR. However the oil will not flow forever.
Back To The Top
Most of this state's operating expenses are currently paid for by the
liquidation of its assets. This liquidation is not enough to close the
present Fiscal Gap. Selling our non-renewable natural resources is a
one-time thing. Treating the proceeds of the sale as income, rather than
capital, is as sound a business plan as selling a kidney for a ticket to
It is through investment that capital generates income.
If all the proceeds from the sale of Alaska's natural resources were
invested, the state could realize a stable income, long into the future.
During the 70's I was part of a team dedicated to improving the
educational services available to communities along the Yukon and
Kuskoquim rivers. That work took me to Juneau on several occasions.
There I had the pleasure and privilege to enjoy the company and good
conversation of then Governor Jay Hammond . The Permanent Fund and the
proposed "dividend check" were often the topics of conversation.
Now I'm not known for my shyness . I was direct in my criticism of the
plan to just give money, the people.
If you start something, you are well advised to consider its ending.
I asked Governor Hammond, at that time, "What will the state do when the
financial circumstances no longer support this annual hand-out of state
funds?" I asked him directly "How will you stop feeding peanuts to the
Much like the Halloween costumed children, we care little for how the
treats got into the big bowl. Where does the candy come from? Few of us
stop to consider.
"How much candy do you expect to get tonight?" asks one child.
"How much candy is there?" comes the answer from another.
This is not a scary Halloween story. This is a state fiscal policy
originally ill-conceived, presently unsound, and doomed to collapse.
And that's why I've never taken a "dividend check".
My Dear Legislator:
When you say:
"We (the Legislators) can't cut our expenses (services and handouts) to match our revenue (income)."
"We (the Legislators) refuse to face the truth of the mathematics,
namely that we are short 1 billion dollars (approx.) every year, to pay for services provided to the residents of Alaska.
While we handout 1 billion dollars (approx.) every year as a
service to the residents of the state of Alaska."
Using the earnings of The Permanent Fund was "Sold" to us Alaskans, as a method of protecting all Alaskans from additional taxes, in the event the there ever came a day when:
"We (the Legislators) can't cut our expenses (services and handouts) to match our revenue (income)."
Do you remember?
Alaskans deserve a dependable Government funding system.
Spending the funds derived from the one time sale of non-renewable
resources, is a fatally flawed, short sighted, and
a tragic waste of the bounty of this state.
Every time the price of oil dips, Alaska's Government funding falters.
Programs started in one year, enjoy no guarantee that required
funding will be present in the following years.
There is a basic element missing, FUNDING STABILITY.
I have no children, but I fear for the future of Alaska's children and
I fear for the future of those who will follow. What will we leave for them?
A truly LONG RANGE FISCAL PLAN is a must, the sooner, the better.
It is NOW "too late" to put Roger Cremo's plan into effect.
This would protect us now, and provide a stable income
to cover state projects, services and even handouts, on into the future.
Spending cuts are not the answer. What is required is STABILITY.