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#424040 - 12/03/11 03:19 PM The Belize Permanent Fund?
Marty Offline
from letters to the editor section of Amandala Online: a interesting suggestion from PG

Punta Gorda, November 28, 2011

Dear Editor,

Alaska, also known as the last frontier or land of the midnight sun, is the largest state of the U.S. in area. It could easily be the coldest state and the most northern or closest to the North Pole. Juneau is Alaska’s capital. Anchorage has the largest population among the state’s cities. Huge oil reserves at Prudhoe Bay along the Arctic coast rank as Alaska’s chief source of wealth.

The resident population of Alaska in 2010 was 710,231. Of that number 104,871 were American Indians and Natives, 23,263 were blacks, 38,135 were Asians, 39,249 were Hispanics or Latino, 51, 875 were persons of mixed race and 11,102 were persons of other races.

The Alaska native population includes Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts. About half of Alaska natives are Eskimos. (Eskimo is used for Alaska natives. Inuit is used for Eskimos living in Canada.) The two man Eskimo groups, Inupiat and Yupik, are distinguished by their language and geography. Inupiats live in the North and Northwest parts of Alaska and speak Inupaiq. While Yupiks live in the South and Southwest and speak Yupik.

About a third of Alaska natives are American Indians. The major tribes are the Alaskan Athabaskan in the Central part of the state and the Tlingit, Tsimshian and the Haida in the Southeast. Tlingit and Haida Indians are mainly in the South Central part of the state.

The Aleuts, native to the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Island, the lower Alaska and the Kenai Peninsulas, and Prince William sound, are physically and culturally related to the Eskimos. About 15% of Alaska natives are Aleuts.

Most of the white population, 473,976, of them, live in or near Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, in Fairbanks and in the south eastern coastal cities. Anchorage is Alaska’s only metropolitan area.

Alaska’s economy relies heavily on government activities and petroleum production. The huge amounts of petroleum produced by Alaska’s mining are shipped to other states via oil tankers and the trans-Alaska pipeline.

In 1968 two oil companies made one of the greatest oil discoveries of all time – at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic coastal plain. Engineers believe this oil field may be the largest in North America, In 1969, Alaska auctioned oil and gas leases in the field’s 450,000 acres and earned over $900 million. The Prudhoe Bay reservoir, with an estimated recoverable 10 billion barrels of oil and 27 trillion cubic feet of gas, is twice as large as any other oil field in North America. Construction of a pipeline to carry the oil about 800 miles across the state, from Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez, began in 1974. The pipeline was completed at a total cost of about $8 billion in 1977, and oil production began.

The development of the Prudhoe Bay oil field provided new jobs and greatly increased state revenues during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

In 1976 the Alaska Permanent Fund was created. The amendment states that at least 25% of all revenues generated by Mineral Development are deposited into this fund. In 1982 a measure was introduced that provided that all Alaskan residents of 6 months or more receive an annual dividend of an equal portion of 50% of the earnings of the fund. In 1979, the high revenues created by the oil boom allowed the state legislature to abolish individual income tax.

I propose that we copy or model and adopt the Alaska permanent fund and call it The Belize Permanent Fund. I propose that it be the 9th amendment to our constitution. I propose that starting in the Cayo District with BNE, all households earning less than $25,000.00 per annum headed by a Belizean or a Belizean single person who is 18 years old or over, one year after the fund is created, should be entitled to the fund. Each eligible household should be entitled to $25,000.00 for the year. It should be given out like the NCP targeted at the needy, and not the greedy. It should be given out in 12 monthly installments for the year. It should only be given to citizens of Belize living in Belize and permanent residents of Belize.

The chairman of each village along with the village council should be the one to identify or select and submit names of heads of eligible households in his or her village. In towns and cities it should be the mayor and town councils. The village councils, town and city councils should be empowered to ask for and inspect the income tax TD4 forms or income tax declaration of the members of each prospective household. The list of eligible households should be reviewed annually. The head of households should apply for the fund.

In case some might move to the Cayo district just to benefit from the fund they should be required to live in that district one year before applying. Fund distribution should start in Cayo and eventually extend to the other districts. The surplus can be used to develop Belize’s infrastructure – roads, bridges, water and electricity system and some can be invested in other things. Then, when our national debt is eliminated or reduced considerably, I propose that the government do like the Alaska legislature in 1979 - abolish individual income tax.

Sincerely yours,
Claude Zuniga

cc: Hon. Dean Barrow P.M.
Minister of Finance
Hon. Gaspar Vega, Minister of Natural Resources (Petroleum/oil)

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#424041 - 12/03/11 03:20 PM Re: The Belize Permanent Fund? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Interesting thought, but there are at least huge two problems with it.

First, if instituted country wide it would cost Belize about US$750 million a year, three-quarters of a billion US dollars. (That's assuming 60,000 of Belize's roughly 80,000 households, or 75%, qualified to receive BZ$25,000 a year.) That's far more than the entire Belize government annual revenue and far more than the revenue generated from oil and gas royalties and lease sales. To have a fund capable of paying out US$750 million a year would require a fund capitalization of at least US$10 billion and probably more.

Second, assuming by some miracle the fund could be established, it would in effect put a majority of Belizeans on welfare and would provide a new source of funds for corrupt politicians. Would Belize be better off if most citizens were on welfare and if government were even more corrupt?

I do think that allocating a portion of Belize's natural resource revenue to free education for its citizens -- scholarships and stipends for school and university education -- would be a great use of the oil and gas money.

--Lan Sluder

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#424138 - 12/04/11 03:11 PM Re: The Belize Permanent Fund? [Re: Marty]
Dr Buzzard Offline
Providing welfare for doing nothing encourages a since of entitlement for just that, doing nothing. I agree with Lan, using the funds for education (including trade schools) is much more productive. Programs to get "at risk" kids off the streets and into school or a job with counselors to guide them can help the economy grow. Proving welfare is like putting a band aid on a severed arm
_________________________
Dr Walkabout Buzzard



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