ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
The Anchorage Daily News headline made us chuckle: “In public testimony, a surge of support for cuts — to the Permanent Fund dividend.”
The story was that during an Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee meeting, Alaskans, by a 2-1 margin, urged lawmakers to block plans to return Permanent Fund dividends impounded by the state. Instead, they wanted more spending for education and other state services.
That’s right. Sixty-five of Alaska’s 730,000 residents testified against Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to restore the Permanent Fund dividends vetoed by former Gov. Bill Walker in 2016 and cut by the Legislature in 2017 and last year. Only 33 testified for restoration of the purloined dividends, the newspaper said. What the rest said apparently was unclear. It is Alaska, after all.
Mind you, the vote was taken after exhortations from the governor, lawmakers and unions to get more people to testify before the committee. It seems to us – as in too many land-use, water-use hearings – the left managed to pack the testimony.
The tally was, indeed, strange. Dunleavy ran for office promising, among other things, to restore the purloined dividends. In response, 145,631 Alaskans – 51.4 percent of those who went to the polls last year – voted for him.
Do 65 people represent a “surge” in Alaskans’ support for giving up dividends held by the state?