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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
HomePolitics and PolicyBill would allow Alaskans to donate PFD to General Fund

Bill would allow Alaskans to donate PFD to General Fund

A bill that would allow Alaskans to contribute their Permanent Fund dividends to the state budget has been resurrected.

SB 92, sponsored by Sens. David Wilson of Wasilla, would have the Department of Revenue add a provision allowing Alaskans who receive dividends to contribute some or all of their dividends to the state, just as they do for nonprofit organizations through Pick, Click, Give.

Last year, the Senate passed a similar bill, SB 154, on a unanimous vote. It was referred to the House, where it died in committee.

This time, SB 92 has two other Senate sponsors: Scott Kawasaki and Elvi Gray-Jackson. Kawasaki has sponsored the similar bill on the House side last year after it passed the Senate.

“Many Alaskans have told me they wouldn’t mind giving up a portion of their dividends to pay for state government,” said Sen. Wilson. “This bill creates a simple mechanism for them to do so. If you want to donate your dividend, that’s your choice. If you want to keep your dividend, you’re free to do so. Senate Bill 92 is about the freedom to make your own decision.”

Participants could contribute $25, $50, $75, $100, or more, in increments of $50, up the total amount of their dividend.

PFD donations are subject to a 7 percent administrative fee paid to the Permanent Fund Dividend Division.

Currently, PFD applicants can donate directly to the state’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund, the Peace Officer and Firefighter Survivors’ Fund, or one or more of the educational organizations, community foundations, or charitable organizations that appear on the contribution list contained in the PFD application. This bill would add the state’s general fund to that list.

SB 92 was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Sen. Mike Shower of Wasilla applauded the bill:

“Based on the averages we’ve seen during testimony and then extrapolating with the well over 600,000 who qualify for a dividend, I’d expect about 150,000 people, or more, to take advantage of this opportunity. Using the statutory formula and a $3,000 dividend I would expect to see a $450 to $500 million bump into the general fund next year as everyone who says they prefer the dividend to go to the state honors their word,” he wrote.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Excellent idea! Those that support bloated government can put their money where their mouth is. And it might actually improve accountability as citizens may pay better attention to unnecessary spending. Still it is not a solution to the fact our state budget needs a giant reset to something more realistic. There is room for belt tightening in every division of state government.

  • Never gonna happen, EVEN if the bill passed. DemocRATS are the biggest bunch of hypocrites on the planet. They yearn for power through control by the government. TAXES are their whipping stick. Maggie Thatcher said it like it is: socialism works great until everyone else’s money is gone.

    • Ted, you are inside my head as that is exactly what I wanted to write. I am forever the heretic these days it seems, but the dissenters will never put their money where their mouth is. Maybe instead of dumping the money into the GF (where it will fall into the GF death spiral), perhaps designate it a little further for those that would actually do this. The state can’t earmark, but the people can when giving it back, correct? (I’m no state fund budget expert) Click what department-specific waste hole they want their money to go: i.e., Corrections reintegration program for minority women (or something like that). I’m sure that the money given back won’t even buy them all lunch, but hey, it’s a good thought! I support the bill, if nothing else, to see how much the liberals will contribute back.

  • General fund dollars…enough said. That is why I will be running against him in Senate District D. In 2020….The more any purpose dollars goverment can get the more exensive government will be..the dividend is a transfer or distribution to the people not a big goverment appropriation…

    • Well put, Mr. Wright. The governor’s PFD proposal IS a redistribution of wealth…..into the hands of THE PEOPLE. Love it!

  • I would like a provision that makes all donations to the general fund public. That would let us see who’s on the level, and who’s blowing smoke.

  • I love this quote by Representative Shower “Based on the averages we’ve seen during testimony and then extrapolating with the well over 600,000 who qualify for a dividend, I’d expect about 150,000 people, or more, to take advantage of this opportunity. Using the statutory formula and a $3,000 dividend I would expect to see a $450 to $500 million bump into the general fund next year as everyone who says they prefer the dividend to go to the state honors their word,”

    We all know that 150,000 people won’t give their PFD back to the cause they want to be over funded so badly (government), if 10% did I think we would all be shocked. It would be interesting to see just how many people would actually put their money where their mouth is, I would guess no more than 3,000 true believers would do so.

    What’s really telling though is that if you extrapolate out the numbers that Representative Shower is using there are a lot of people demanding that everyone give up their entire PFD to keep the government cash flowing. It’s not surprising when government pays as many works as much as they do in this state. We have more government workers per capita than any other state and they are paid much, much higher than government workers in other states.

    The budget needs to be cut.

  • I think this is a fantastic idea, but it will fail do the same defeatist mentality we see every election. So many believe their vote isn’t worth anything, so they just don’t vote because “what difference does it really make?”. When being asked to donate two, three, or four thousand dollars of their own money, we all see this as just a tiny little drop in the bucket. If we’re among the extreme minority who do so, such an action seems a waste of a large amount of money individually that will do no more than cover the cost of 1 month’s salary for the Governor’s housekeeper.