Alaska’s legislature is staring down the gun barrel at a $3 billion deficit.
Oil revenues have collapsed along with other resource revenues in America’s last frontier.
Something fishy is going on in Alaska, or should I say something NOT fishy.
Here’s how the iconic salmon of Alaska can help save the Alaska budget?
The US Federal government just declared a fisheries disaster in Alaska’s fishing industry as the salmon are discovered to be starving at sea and this year’s largest salmon catch, the Pink Salmon, is expected to be in a history breaking collapse. This is going to hit the Alaska budget hard, and the state budget is already in hard times.
How is that possible when just a few years ago in 2013 the Pink Salmon shattered the all time catch records with 226 million swimming into fishing nets instead of the 50 million expected. The state government reported jubilantly that the history making catch delivered more than $700 million into the state economy that year.
But back to the present day reality of Alaska facing a $3 billion dollar budget crisis.
The consequence of the present Alaska budget crisis is that schools are firing teachers, police stations laying off staff, and in every corner of state and local government belts are being cinched so tight that the life of Alaska is being starved.
“The stark reality is that Alaska is quickly depleting its savings. New revenue is going to be very difficult to generate, relying solely on cutting state government will not solve the problem, postponing hard decisions will needlessly squander the time that remains and there’s great controversy about all the options you face.” This was the message delivered to the state legislature by Chief Justice Craig Stowers of the Alaska Supreme Court as he again called on the Legislature to find the courage to act decisively on the state’s fiscal crisis.
Echoing the Chief Justice has been Cliff Groh, chair of Alaska Common Ground, a public policy nonprofit, who says, “There’s a more than $3 billion hole to fill this year, and with declining oil production and weak revenue, we can’t keep living like we have.”
While calls to ‘drill baby drill’ have proved useless with the price of oil is far below the level where new oil investment is not nor nor possible ever again going to produce new revenues for the state. To say nothing of the far lower cost vast reserves of oil in the lower 48 have suddenly begun to come on stream, in spite of decades of ‘peak oil’ frenzied frontier oil promotion and investment. There is scant hope for Alaska on the slippery North Slope.
OK so face it there is not going to be one single ‘silver bullet’ to restock Alaska’s treasury. What are the many things that might, must, be done. Firing teachers, laying off local jail guards, raising lots and lots of new taxes and more are all on the agenda. I’ve got something to add, I’m a one trick pony, but it’s a good one. The proven means to restore Alaska’s salmon to historic abundance is in hand, it just works! So read on in this new version of the famous sermon about ‘teach a man to fish’
Bring Back The Fish!
OK so delivering $700+ million dollars worth of fish into the state economy as my work restoring the Gulf of Alaska salmon pasture in 2012 proved it could do isn’t going to solve a $3 billion budget crisis all alone but what else of this magnitude is immediately available to help restock the Alaska budget? The cost of bringing most of a billion dollars of fish money into the state is not more than a few million dollars.
It’s a bit late to restore the Alaska ocean salmon pastures to stave off this year’s salmon disaster but if I can muster a 11 shipmates and a vessel and get out to sea before high summer we can begin to help. Surely now is the time to begin the process of becoming the ‘good shepherd’ for Alaska’s salmon pastures by redeploying the simple low cost sustainable work restoring Mother Nature to her former condition of health and abundance that WILL result in promptly filling Alaska’s waters with a billion additional salmon will work, I have proven it. Bringing a billion additional fish to Alaska might just tip the scales to help save Alaska from its collapsing resource budget crisis.
Whether the prophets of doom and their determination to maximize the profits in doom will allow us to restore Alaska’s ocean pasture frontier to health is another question. We can only try. Join me spread the word, help with the needed grubstake!