Alaska guv wants to hire PR firm to burnish state’s freeloading image

Alaskans are widely perceived as freeloaders who suck tax money off the federal teat and plunder wild lands for profit, but that could all change if they hired the right PR person. Ha ha … oh, wait, really? “Alaska does not just take. We give,” said Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), a tad defensively. He wants to hire a public relations firm to help polish the state’s image. Alaska received the most federal dollars per capita of any state in 2003; in 2005, nearly every Alaskan got a check for $845.76 from the state’s Permanent Fund. In 2004, the feds paid nearly $49 million to clear the way for money-losing timber sales in the Tongass National Forest. Alaska politicos counter that the young state (born 1959) still lacks the infrastructure to pull itself up by its bootstraps. “Unfortunately, Alaska’s leaders appear willing to sacrifice everything that makes the state unique in order to prop up a boom-and-bust extraction economy,” writes David Jenkins of Republicans for Environmental Protection. Guess he’s not part of the PR campaign.