Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


What a remarkable thing. Our legislature is "giving" everyone in Alaska who receives a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) an extra $1200 to be added to the coming PFD, which itself may exceed $2000. It started out as an “energy” rebate – and ended up as a “resource” rebate. Near as I can figure, if it’s an “energy” rebate, bush Alaskans who pay for more energy could try to justify a larger rebate. If it’s a “resource” rebate, everyone should get the same amount. It’s the same amount of money disingeniously dressed in different language. Ahh, the magic of language!

The cost of the rebate is $744 million, whatever you call it. This is a one-time, repeat, one-time rebate, aimed at sharing some of the revenue windfall money generated by record high crude oil prices. And yes, some of the windfall has, in fact, been saved.

Some Alaskans state they don’t need or want the rebate. Good for them. I recommend they gave their $1200 to worthy charities or a hungry family. Others say wealthy Alaskans shouldn’t get the rebate money because they don’t need it – but these are the same wealthy people who pay more taxes than the rest of us. If someone makes more money than me, good for them.

Many are saying that too many Alaskans will squander their $1200 rebate on big screen TVs, or something else others calls "frivolous." Probably true. But it’s not my business as a legislator, to tell you how you must spend your money. It’s your money, not mine! Furthermore, however you spend your money, it’ll spur the Alaska economy thereby helping keep people employed.

I’m hearing from folks who complain that homes with a large number of children, will get substantially more than childless families or the “ideal” (in some people’s opinion) family of 2.5 children. Remember, it’s a “resource” rebate to consumers - not money to heat a household. Children are consumers too (big time).

Several Alaskans (including a couple in my own family) are upset that only current PFD recipients will receive the $1200 rebate. The governor’s original plan was also to include Alaskans for the rebate who have been residents for at least six months. It's understandable that those who, through no fault of their own, miss out on the rebate are upset. But it would be a very expensive and impractical process to hire application inspectors to administer a one-time rebate. The PFD verification process and the employees that administer it, are already in place. Limiting the rebate to PFD recepients is probably “not fair” but, in practicality, a line must be drawn at some point.

The Alaska tax of 8 cents is also being extended for one year. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. Fuel is outrageously expensive. I can verify that, having just used my Suburban to haul my RV trailer where I lived during special session back home from Juneau! This gasoline tax relief will help people to afford going to work, as well as commercial drivers all over the state. Predictably, some complain that Alaska already has the lowest fuel tax in the US, so we should keep the tax. Frankly, I don’t care how it’s done outside Alaska.

Extra help, in fact, was given to lower the cost of electricity in rural communities with a timely a revision to the power cost equalization (PCE) program.

And yes, I did vote “Yes” for the rebate and “Yes” for suspending the gasoline tax.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this might be the first important issue on which we've ever agreed. good job.

switching gears: that was a nice introduction at the ABT yesterday, you royal ass.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous steve said...

You're right. Tying the rebate to the PFD when the PFD application process was already over is unfair. The PFD eligibility criteria has been tested constitutionally, so that's ok. But I don't see how a distribution of our resources without allowing any process for eligible residents to apply can pass muster. I hope you'll consider something during the regular session to allow residents who didn't apply for the PFD to apply for the rebate. Heck, just extending the 08 PFD application deadline would help some folks.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this quote by you re: Sarah Palin's new grandchild online today: "I think conservative and liberal and moderate voters will all agree that it's a private family matter," said Lynn. "This is family life; we all have family situations."

Really, Bob? Is it a private family matter? When people like Sarah Palin are trying to legislate how a woman can choose to react to such a situation, you have absolutely no goddamn right talking high and mighty about privacy and respecting another family's issue. You have some nerve, in fact, asking that the Palin's, who's matriarch wants to legislate choice, have their own privacy respected. Sarah Palin wants to control how other families handle exactly what her family is going through. That is intrusive and disrespectful.

Privacy and respect for the Palin family is off the table, and that is solely because of the actions of Sarah Palin herself.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyways I believe that the "relief rebate check" is a great idea if everyone is able to get it. If you don't get a PFD you don't receive it either...kind of stupid. What is your PFD is garnished or you were denied so that just put's you in the hole again! Where's the relief in that? DOn't you think either way the rebate check should be given to all individuals in Alaska no matter what consequences. There's no relief if you not receive one.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in D31 and usually support your decisions, epecially on the longevity bonus. I was disappointed to see you cow to the National Republicans and interfere with an investigation that can and should be handled at the state level.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For 1.2 billion dollars the State can completely free many communities from oil, gas or other expensive non-renewable fuels using off the shelf technology. Immediately, the Senate should form Alaska Energy Inc with the 1.2 billion as seed capital and begin investing in production and transmission infrastructure. The AEA and all energy related projects at AIDEA should be transferred to Alaska Energy, Inc. Alaska Energy Inc should be operated like the Railroad or Housing with the ability to raise additional capital either equity or debt. I would saddle Alaska Energy, Inc with administration of the "one state, one rate" plan as well.
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1:52 AM  
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