East Enders could learn a thing or two from Alaskans.
Summer on the Twin Forks sees a great influx of outsiders who descend upon our beautiful towns and hamlets, adding stress to all aspects of our peaceful island life, without any defined, universal benefit to the local residents. There definitely needs to be some monetary compensation for enduring all the madness of bumper-to-bumper traffic, overcrowded beaches and noise pollution.
So what does this have to do with Alaska?
Residents of Alaska are entitled to an annual dividend from the oil royalty fund. These payments began in 1982 at $1,000 per year-round resident and have since doubled to $2,000. For a qualifying family of four, that’s an additional $8,000 check each year.
The reasoning behind this payment stems from the idea that if people who are non-residents are going to benefit from the resources of the state, in this case oil reserves, Alaskan residents should be financially compensated. Sounds fair to me.
Think about it for a minute. On the East End, every summer people flock from all over the world to experience our sandy beaches, where they can bask in the sun and enjoy the sweet Atlantic Ocean breeze. They partake in our exquisite dining and shopping options and are enriched by our fantastic art galleries and theaters. If all Alaskans can make a few extra bucks off their tourists, why can’t East Enders?
One way to go about this would be for New York State to take a percentage of the increased sales tax revenue collected from the Twin Forks during the summer months and split it amongst all year-round residents. We’d simply walk out to the mailbox to find a check rewarding us for surviving another East End summer.
The fund would likely be named something clear and formal, like “The East End Resource Fund,” but we’d be more likely to refer to it as “Inconvenience Bucks” or something equally facetious.
There’s not much time before tourist season, so we’d better start spreading the word now. Let’s get the idea into the consciousness of every New York politician before we let another summer slip by without giving us a cut of the wealth.
If Alaska can do it, we can too.