A Conversation on Alaska’s Budget Crisis

My August Conversation with Mike Chmielewski on Alaska's Budget Crisis on Radio Free Palmer. Listen Here <a href="http://www.radiofreepalmer.org/2016/08/19/matsu-college-professor-holly-bell-talks-about-budgets-8-10-2016/">http://www.radiofreepalmer.org/2016/08/19/matsu-college-professor-holly-bell-talks-about-budgets-8-10-2016/</a>

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Denali II

Well-structured sales tax does more for Alaska than income tax

<span class="updated">As Alaska works to balance the state budget, one thing is certain: We will all have less money in our wallets. The scale of our deficit means we are likely to see both PFD reductions and new taxes. While the governor has proposed an income tax, a sales tax may a better alternative for Alaska.</span> To continue article, <a href="http://www.adn.com/article/20160401/well-structured-sales-tax-does-more-alaska-income-tax">click here</a>

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Denali II

The Positive Side of The President’s Visit to Alaska

The President’s recent visit to Alaska was in many ways controversial, but there was one<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_4392.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2747 alignright" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IMG_4392-225x300.jpg" alt="Denali" width="225" height="300" /></a> positive aspect to it: It has inspired me to start blogging again. While I realize this excites some, frightens others, and disinterests most, there were so many things I wanted to blog about during the President’s visit, that I had to give the blog a facelift and return the hamsters to the power wheel. So where have I been and what have I been doing? Writing for money primarily, but that kind of writing doesn’t really let me fully express myself. It’s like a perpetual job interview in which you have to keep editors happy and manage your emotional outbursts. You have no idea how badly I want to overuse exclamation points!!!!!! Phew, that’s better. Since the President is gone and discussion of his trip is mostly over,

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Medicine

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Old Age…

<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ID-100102398-23.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2741 alignright" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ID-100102398-23-200x300.jpg" alt="Medicine" width="200" height="300" /></a>My doctor of many years decided he’d rather spend his days hiking than playing ‘identify this rash’ twelve times a day and retired a few months ago at the age of 71. This left me, for the second time in my life, with the reluctant task of replacing a retired doctor. I hate finding new doctors. When my very first doctor retired, the only physician in my small town who was taking patients was an osteopath. I didn’t care much for him. I felt like he was always treating me with special herbs and spices instead of practicing medicine, yet he looked great by comparison to the doctor I ended up with in the next city I moved to. When we got to Alaska, we asked some of the doctors we knew from our neighborhood and civic organizations who they would see for

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Alaska

The Time May Be Right To End The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend

<h2><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ID-10073329.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-2531" alt="Alaska" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ID-10073329-300x216.jpg" width="300" height="216" /></a>The Dividend is a Redistribution Policy</h2> <p>The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as an investment that would allow for the continuation of funding of Alaska’s essential services once the Alaskan oil resources had been exhausted. While a portion of the income from the Fund comes from oil revenue (about 11% of total oil revenue to the state), most of the growth in the fund has come from re-investment and additional money put in by the legislature during the “rich” years of the inevitable boom and bust cycles experienced by Alaska. Based on its purpose, to fund the Alaska government once oil tax revenues have dried up, many people in Alaska (myself included) believe paying an annual dividend to residents is inconsistent with the Fund’s goal. In a 2010 study by the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research,

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Statistics on Gun Violence in Alaska Don’t Support Additional Gun Control

By Holly A. Bell<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/?attachment_id=2228" rel="attachment wp-att-2228"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2228" alt="No Shooting @ Mud Bay" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/No-Shooting-300x200.jpg" width="300" height="200" /></a> As someone who has always protected the rights of individuals to own firearms, I am often dismissed lately as less than a reliable source based on the fact that I happen to live in Alaska (even though I’ve only lived here a few years). Of course Alaska has a reputation for being a very gun-friendly state with liberal firearms laws and a significant hunting culture. Or, as someone rather explicitly stated recently, we are a bunch of “gun nuts”. Yes, Alaskans own a lot of guns, but I would like to share some statistics that you might find interesting. The State of Alaska is one of 17 states that participate in the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.cdc.gov/injury/FundedPrograms/index.html">CDC’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)</a>. Here are a few statistics from <a rel="nofollow" href="http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/forum/25/4winter2009/b_nvdrs.html">Alaska's report</a>: <ul> <li>The rate of

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Labor Day is the End of Summer in Alaska

<h2><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_0112-3.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-1854" title="IMG_0112-3" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IMG_0112-3-300x199.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="199" /></a>Leaving summer behind in Alaska.</h2> In most parts of the United States, Labor Day Weekend is the symbolic end of summer. While the kids have gone back to school, little has changed from the previous weekend. The days remain warm, vegetables are still ripening in the garden, and fall colors are still weeks away. In <b>Alaska</b>, Labor Day Weekend is more than the symbolic end of summer. Summer really ended here this weekend. The first indication that summer was over happened the week before Labor Day Weekend (LDW) when the trees started to show hints of yellow and orange. By LDW they were beginning to fully engage their fall foliage and I found leaves beginning to cover the grass. On Sunday of LDW I noticed the fireweed had started to turn red in the valley and looked up at the mountains to

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Pallor is a Season in Alaska

<h2>As my website is often a little intense, dealing with serious (or some say “boring”) issues, I thought it was time to take a moment and bask in the spring Alaska sun.</h2> <p>By Holly A. Bell</p> <p>Perspectives change in Alaska when the temperature reaches 50 degrees and we start to have both sunshine and daylight again. You can tell it’s spring by the photo of your humble blogger below.</p> <p><a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/photo.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-1340" title="photo" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/photo-1024x764.jpg" alt="" width="594" height="443" /></a></p> <p>The indication of spring in Alaska is not the sunshine or the lounge chair, but the fact that I was able to unzip my coat and expose my sweater. For men in Alaska seeing a woman publicly exposed in such a manner is roughly equivalent to the thrill experienced by Victorian men at the sight of an ankle. Obviously the winters are very long.</p> <p>What most people don’t realize is that we have more seasons

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Spring Break in Alaska

<a href="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/photo-copy.jpg"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1216" title="photo copy" src="http://www.professorhollybell.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/photo-copy-300x224.jpg" alt="Alaska"width="300" height="224" /></a>By Holly A. Bell <h3>It’s spring break in Alaska.</h3> It’s hard to tell as it was 10 below zero Tuesday morning and there are still a couple of feet of snow in the yard with more on the way. While the Lower 48 had one of their warmest and driest winters on record we had one of the coldest and snowiest. In fact, we’re only a few inches away from the all time record snowfall in Palmer, while other areas have already blown through their records. Perhaps we should take our cue from Clint Eastwood and simply call it “half-time” at the University rather than spring break. That’s really what it is anyway isn’t it? We’re halfway through the semester, but I don’t know how we account for being three-quarters of the way through the academic year. Perhaps just “break” would be

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Alaska’s Role in the Balance of Trade with China

Last week <a rel="nofollow" href="http://ltgov.alaska.gov/" target="_blank">Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell</a> announced during a speech at The University of Alaska Anchorage's <a rel="nofollow" href="http://matsu.alaska.edu/" target="_blank">MatSu College</a> he had met with officials in China regarding <i>trade</i> and suggested the possibility of exporting North Slope liquified natural gas to China. This effort is in response to the economic, political, and regulatory hurdles associated with the development of a natural gas pipeline to the lower 48 the state has been struggling with for years. The time is right as China seems anxious to equalize <u>trade</u> and has a significant energy need. There may even be opportunities for Chinese funding for infrastructure development to get the project off the ground. The state's motivations are twofold. First, new natural gas discoveries in the Lower 48 have reduced the price of gas making it no longer economically viable in the short-run to build a gas pipeline. Of course

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