TIME WAS: Legislators debate using Permanent Fund to solve budget gap

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 08:07

20 years ago this week in the Star…

Legislators debate PFD advisory vote

Chugiak Sen. Rick Halford and Anchorage Rep. Brian Porter “expressed sharply different views” on an upcoming Permanent Fund Advisory vote during a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

According to a story in the Sept. 2, 1999 Star, the vote would ask Alaskans whether legislators should be allowed to use a portion of the $30 billion Permanent Fund for state spending.

“As the legislative session wrapped up this spring, declining oil revenues were expected to cause a $1.2 billion budget gap,” wrote Star reporter Jodi Stephens in a front-page story. “Saying there was no way to cut the budget that much or to find sufficient revenue elsewhere, legislators decided to put the question to voters. Since then, oil prices have rebounded from around $10 per barrel to more than $21, reducing the anticipated deficit to about $400 million.”

Porter said he was in favor of using the fund, while Halford was strongly against.

“I believe the proposition is deceptive, unnecessary and unwise,” he said.

The vote failed by an overwhelming margin, with more than 83 percent of Alaskans voting against.

Police investigate homicide

Anchorage police said they were investigating the death of a man found near mile 2.4 of Eklutna Road as a homicide. According to police, a Native male in his 20s was found with a gunshot wound alongside the road.

Taking shape

A photo on page 2 of the Sept. 9, 1999 edition of the Star showed workers at the site of the under-construction Walmart store at the corner of Eagle River Road and Eagle River Loop Road. According to a caption, the building was set to be completed by the middle of May, 2000.

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