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Monday, September 23, 2019
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A half PFD opens the door to further concessions

By LARRY WOOD
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Gov. Michael Dunleavy is facing a critical point in his administration with his forthcoming decisions on the budget.

It is not the next “five minutes” that bothers me nor the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend.  It is how the leadership of the Legislature and their supporters perceive the governor’s compromises.

If the $1,600 is it, the door is now open to the Legislature forcing a diminishing PFD.

It is clear, that the Legislature’s priority is preservation of government growth, not a sustainable fiscal solution.

The next three years of the Dunleavy Administration will either be a repeat of this year or a gradual acquiescence by the governor and acceptance of a much reduced agenda towards fiscal stability.  Further, I seriously doubt that if the governor concedes this issue to the Legislature without a fight, there will be any chance of reelection.

Governor Mike Dunleavy made significant concessions with his acquiescence in removing the special session from Wasilla to Juneau to end the impasse and prevent the loss of federal matching funds from the capital budget.  In making those concessions, he showed leadership and his concern for doing the Peoples’ Business, something the Legislature has seemingly ignored.  He has made further concessions in an effort to jump start a dialogue that would result in a plan to achieve the Holy Grail of Alaska politics, fiscal stability.

Given what the Legislature then did in restoring the veto amounts and ignoring any discussion regarding meeting the PFD statutory formula, compromise is absent the Legislature’s collective mind.

If the governor accepts the $1,600 and agrees with the restoration of the funds vetoed, the stage is set for little or no progress towards fiscal stability.  Even worse, the Legislature makes no excuse for ignoring the law.  The Legislature ignored AS 24.05.100 and, now, the statute governing the PFD formula.

Bucking the governor and the law is of no consequence to the leadership of the Legislature.

The governor will either let these affronts to the supremacy of the law stand, or challenge the Legislature by holding the line on the vetoes and vetoing the PFD amount, and calling for another special session.

What’s at risk is the next three years.

Further, there will be no reelection if the legislative leadership has its way and co-opts the governor’s agenda, replacing it with its own self-serving play to the unbridled government growth supporting plebes and the unions. Once they get into the Permanent Fund, it’s just a matter of time before they spend us into fiscal insolvency.

Dunleavy’s challenge to the University of Alaska produced results demonstrated in the UA’s decision to reorganize and eliminate redundancy in its bureaucracy.  Further, the SU system admitted that a 38 percent cost savings would result from consolidating the various engineering disciplines under one dean and staff.  Obviously, the savings system wide would be significant were this done to each school eliminating redundancies in staff and management.  This would not have happened had Dunleavy not challenged the University with the cuts.

The question is, is this governor going to be satisfied with just that validation of his agenda this first year?  Will he now find himself working to achieve over the next three years a mere vestige of what he sold us?

Too many people need the full PFD.

The PFD does accomplish something increasing the size of government does not:  It is an infusion directly into the private sector economy and it benefits all Alaskans, something increasing the size of government does not.  The money is largely spent here, benefitting the private sector.

Government produces nothing, and simply absorbs capital. It is a necessary evil and inefficient. Yet, the Legislature has put government growth over the welfare of Alaskans and has used our dividends to do so.  It’s a tax that penalizes every Alaskan.

I believe that if Dunleavy allows the Legislature to dictate the PFD amount and roll back the vetoes, his administration will be effectively compromised for the rest of his tenure as governor.

I further believe that he will not achieve reelection as a result. Therefore, he has nothing to lose in maintaining his vetoes and challenging the Legislature to meet the statutory PFD formula.

He needs to tighten the straps on his body armor, drink another Gatorade and charge the Legislature’s windmill.  Or, quietly concede the loss of this battle, and, ultimately, the “war”, and be just another governor and “get along.”

We elected him to do the former, not the latter.

Larry Wood is a 65 year Alaskan and lives on Lazy Mt. near Palmer.

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Latest comments

  • and the wolves circle the sheep, preparing for a final feast.

  • I wholeheartedly support Larry Woods comments. I have lived in Alaska since 1963 and this uncontrolled spending MUST STOP!! Everyone must learn the difference between a Constitutional Republic and a Majority (MOB) Rule Democracy. The Land and All it’s Resources belong to We The People in a Constitutional Republic. If you read Art. 12, Sec. 8 you will see that Alaska’s so-called Constitution is ONLY Corporate By-Laws, which says,
    “The enumeration in this Constitution of specified powers shall not be construed as limiting the powers of the State.”
    I’m sorry but the ONLY purpose of a Constitution is TO LIMIT THE POWERS OF THE STATE!!!!! Otherwise the State has UNLIMITED POWERS WHICH IS TOTALITARIAN and is a Communist/Fascist/Nazi State!!!!! Seymour Marvin Mills Jr. sui juris

    • Seymour: Toke ‘em like you got ‘em.

  • Good to know that prisons, police, wildland firefighters, snowplow operators and new roads and airports aren’t a benefit to all Alaskans.

    .

    Yes, government needs to be made to be efficient. It also serves a valid purpose that benefits more than government.

    • A necessary evil, never to be fully trusted, inefficient and always self-serving.
      Otherwise, why is there unions for state employees when gov’t across the board make more money with better benefits than the private sector?
      Further, most of these state employees bug out after their retirement taking their money with them.
      The Marine Hwy System employees, what did they do? They went on strike for higher pay . . . some commitment to those they serve.

  • If more people would get in the fight and make the right choices with the Legislators and Senators who think they are in control, things would be better. Every legislator and senator who voted for the PFD should be on a RECALL no playing no talking just doing the recall. Are there only a few of us who dare put RECALL on certain legs and senators? Kinda looks that way. People need to put up and do the will of the people, gather and make this happen, everyone of them can be recalled, so many who didn’t show up in Wasilla are under violation of the constitution by not being where the Governor called the session. Talk about a bunch of cowards to hide out in Juneau.

    • Cindy: consider taking a dictation tutorial please.

  • Secession is a thing.

    • Huh? I think it’s a verb, not a noun.

    • That died with Joe Vogler. On the flipside, the U.S. government did not hold up their side of the bargain (statehood act) on several matters.

  • Dunleavy showed leadership and gave the legislative majority enough rope to hang themselves. This is the professional class stealing from the least of us. Nonprofits and foundations enriching themselves at the expense of the poor and middle class. Democrats cheering on taking the PFD might as well be Robber Barrons, while conservatives doing the same are RINOs: they are increasing big government. Time to get the poor and middle class to show up at the polls.

  • Exactly. The $1,600 PFD becomes the new high watermark. Then in future years it can only go down from there and eventually it will be a thing of the past. The house speaker is pretty good at what he does. He’s on the wrong side of course that is on the wrong side of the will of the majority of the people in Alaska and eventually that will catch up with him. Those people I’ve talked to and southwestern Alaska are uninformed about his willingness to strip $10,000 a year away from a family of five or six and that’s a shame. There are always more sheep than there are wolves but every once in awhile there’s a big great Pyrenees dog that’s imbedded with the sheep and is there to protect them. The wolf being used to complatancy never sees this coming.

  • Here’s the thing, he put forth an agenda that needed to be talked about and it certainly got that reaction. When the 5% of the States population totally freaked out and for all practical purposes headed for the Buffalo jump, our governor did what he was supposed to and that was bring conversation to the table and make some much-needed cuts that everybody could stomach this year. Next year will do it all over again eventually will have a balanced budget and something in the Constitution so that when Bryce edgmon runs for governor he’s going to have some laws that he’s going to have to follow.

    • Heaven help us if that —- Edgmon runs for governor

      • It will happen. That is why he changed to an independent. TRy to pull in some moderate Republican votes AKA “Fence Sitters.”

        • “Independent” is code speak for communist. I had a “independent democrat” candidate call once.. I managed to keep that douche bag on the phone for 2 hours. Everybody asked why would I do that? It was 2 hours of time he lost to call other employers (voters).

  • Some are excited about shrinking government not caring much about the size of the dividend. Don’t get me wrong, I will be thankful for what ever number they arrive at and happy to spend it. What are the odds that we wind up with $0 PFD? If this appropriation is redlined for the $1600 dividend the odds of a $0 dividend increase dramatically. It will make for some very interesting elections come August next year.

    • I’ve noticed that both you and Suzanne feel that it’s possible that a $0 PFD could come from another special session. Frankly I think that possibility is absurd as I’ve heard a large number of Legislators say that there would not be a $0 PFD (prior to the $1600 number) and I just can’t see them allowing that to happen. What I do believe is that, should the $1600 be vetoed, it could end up being about $900 as that’s the amount that could be paid out of ERA without going over the POMV amount. And that’s because it was not easy to get that $1600 because it contained some CBR money that required a super majority-that may not happen in next special session and thus the $900 could be what is left.
      Just my opinion.

      • Why are you under the mistaken belief that they need to follow the POMV plan?  The $900 is just an arbitrary number just like the $1600.  Any money that is paid out and not from the Permanent Fund Earnings is not a Permanent Fund Dividend.

        • It’s not my belief but the belief of the majority of Legislature-remember they passed this in 2018 and many of these Legislators are still around Four-flusher.
          You got some more apples and oranges examples of why this PFD is not a PFD?? Heheh!

          • Oh, so when you said you believe it, right up there^, you were lying about it.

            Here, let me repost what you wrote since you’ve once again forgotten what it is you just wrote in your last post. “What I do believe is that, should the $1600 be vetoed, it could end up being about $900 as that’s the amount that could be paid out of ERA without going over the POMV amount.”

          • OK Four-flusher, I’ll rephrase my comment: Because the majority of Legislators believe in their POMV limit, I believe them.
            This is politics 101 and it appears that they’ve chosen to go with their POMV limit, rather than the statutory PFD. I believe them and take them at their word.
            This, of course, could change were they (majority) given something to change their minds-so far nothing has moved them.
            Still no apples and oranges examples to show that PFDs are not PFDs??

          • See Bill, it isn’t that hard to admit you were wrong. I’m proud of you for doing so, it shows growth on your part. Now if you can figure out the simple equation that a dividend paid from the Permanent Fund Corporation is a Permanent Fund Divided and a check from the CBR isn’t a Permanent Fund Divided we will really have had some major breakthroughs today, what do you say big guy? Can you admit the obvious or not?

        • Four-flusher, my post said nothing of the kind that “they need to follow the POMV plan!” I did say it “could” end up along those lines and you ran with your mistaken assumption.
          You regularly do this but that just is the stress you seem to be putting yourself under-particularly with your “apples and oranges” comparison to our PFD. Heheh!
          Last year’s was called a PFD by everyone and this year’s will most likely be called on again but we’ll wait for the Dunleavy decision-I’m sure he is taking it under advisement that you think it’s not a PFD so maybe he will start eating those “apples and oranges” too.

          • Forgot what you wrote again huh Bill? It’s right up there^ for all to see.

          • Here it is Four-flusher: “What I do believe is that, should the $1600 be vetoed, it could end up being about $900 as that’s the amount that could be paid out of ERA without going over the POMV amount.”
            Tough noogies!

          • “my post said nothing of the kind”

            Hahaha

            You’ve already said it was…or wasn’t your belief but the beliefs of others that you believe but now you don’t. You can’t make up your mind can you Bill?

            Thanks once again for the laughs, you really are the gift that keeps on giving.

          • Four-flusher, it’s you that can’t make up your mind about plain English.
            Tell us again about what it is that you thought I said? Here’s what you said above:

            Why are you under the mistaken belief that they need to follow the POMV plan?
            Like I said, I said nothing of the kind. Go ahead and dream up your version of what I said!
            Take your time.

          • Hahaha, it’s right up there^ Bill, who are you trying to fool, yourself?

          • Tough noogies, Four-flusher!

          • Tough noogies, indeed Bill, that’s all you have left in the tank. Well tough noogies and childish name calling, but then that’s all you’ve ever had, isn’t it?

          • Four-flusher you’ve never showed where I said anything of the kind. Either put up or shut up!
            The tough noogies is because you can’t produce and continue with your BS about it’s up there and that’s not name calling either. Show us where I said anything of the kind or shut up. Plain and simple.

          • Right up there^ Bill, right up there^. Every time I quote you you say that isn’t what you said, even when it is exactly what you said. I don’t need to put up or shut up, you just need to stop lying about what you wrote, it’s right up there^. Don’t like being called out for your bs, stop posting bs and then saying you didn’t say exactly what it is you said. Tough noogies indeed, guess you don’t have those either.

          • Say there Four-flusher, the governor didn’t get your memo about this $1600 PFD is not a PFD and he specifically called it a PFD just now.
            You’ll want to give him some love in order to convince him of your apples and oranges description of how a PFD is not a PFD. Heheh!

  • Well said Larry! The silent majority of Alaskans believe as you do that it is time to roll back government to 2005 or before. We’ll be fine! The vocal (and often rudely so) minority among us want bigger government and control over the rest of us. We’ve got to work together as conservatives to vote out these turncoats who are only listening to the few loud citizens and special interests.

    If we can vote the traitors out in 2020 perhaps it will only be one more year of dysfunction?

  • Excellent analysis. Dunleavy’s legal team is not getting behind what needs to happen. Another session is not going to change things, unfortunately. We need that legal solution that only the Governor taking action can begin. Order the transfer of funds for the PFD as per Statute in the face of the recent AK Supreme Court decision and uphold the Law. Let’s get this to a higher Court !

  • Larry, I respect your opinion and may well agree with you in principal, however the world and political actions in Alaska, (and everywhere else) are not always logical. The reality is politics is a dirty game. If Big Mike veto’s the PFD there will likely not be a distribution this year. Families will be damaged Larry. Maybe not many folks up on Lazy Mountain but believe me there will be pain in the Butte! Point is Larry we have 3 years to help our Guv get this right. Reagan said I will take a half loaf today and work for the whole loaf tomorrow. We are in a Dog Fight here Larry, it would be wise to remember who the enemy is and work towards defeating him while we support Big Mike in that fight.

  • The only fair way to settle this mess is to go back to the 2005 budget, before the spending spree that doubled the government spending that these legislators don’t want to cut back on, and adopt this budget with an inflation proofing from 2005 to present, then cut every added position and added or extended program that was not in the 2005 budget and cut the spending back WHERE IT OCCURRED. This would be fair to all areas and communities of this state, instead of trying to whittle away by line item veto and devastating communities that rely on things like the AMHS with massive line item veto cuts! Next VETO the bill with the $1600 PFD that changes the method of determining the PFD amounts. If the legislature doesn’t want to come back and do the PFD by the old constitutional formula and give out a PFD, well let them suffer the consequences in the towns they live in. Let them try to blame the governor, because they are at least equally blamable as they intend to steal the PFD permanently to finance big government.

  • 2019 is not an election year. 2020 is. The lawlesslature is counting on Alaskan voters having short memories. We do not. There is an excellent chance that Governor Dunleavy will be dealing with a much different crew after that. If that’s not the case then we, Alakan voters, will deserve the ever-growing already bloated government and the cancerous growth that will follow.

  • EVERY legislator who has supported a PFD less than statutory formula will face a withering blast and humiliating defeat in the next election. Not a thief will remain standing.
    Time to bust the State employee labor unions – I suggest offer them a choice: a 20% RIF by layoff or accept 20% reduction in pay with any future raises linked to State income growth – with no new taxes considered to be growth in State income.
    Gov Mike, we’re standing with you.

  • It seems to me, to the extent it can be put to the people, the question is simply:

    Who knows best how to spend the dividend?

    The citizens? Or the government?

    While there are a variety of reasons, for picking one camp or the other, (I suspect philosophical more than logical in most cases) that’s basically how this issue cuts.

    While the issue is still being decided, some passionate believers on the “government knows best” side, are not without immediate remedy.

    For instance, If you feel strongly that the government knows better how to spend your dividend than you do, you are free to give it back.

    You can even give back past dividends. There is really no set limit. Calculate an amount, or go back thru times in your life where you are certain the government would have done better with it than you did, and reimburse them for all of those years in which you made the unwise choice to spend your own dividend.

    In this regard, you are very free to exercise your belief system in real, tangible action.

    This will not solve the problem of all the other people having their own dividend to spend- and all the many they have spent before-but here again- you have immediate remedy. You are free to make your case to the public.. to your neighbors.. your friends.. your family.. co workers.. etc.

    If you are persuasive in your arguments, perhaps they will, return their dividend to the state (or the university-wherever you direct them..) as well. It may be a difficult case to make, but then, if your passion is real, then who’s to say you can’t accomplish your goal? Maybe you can get them to return past PFDs as well?

    Conversely, if you believe the people know best how to spend their own money, and that $3000.00 washed thru a wasteful bureaucracy is not an efficient mechanism for delivering that wealth to the people of Alaska…Well then, not a lot of immediate action you can take. You pretty much have the governor and a handful of legislators working for you and not much else.. and they will be fighting the media/left, the establishment right, special interests, Rasmussen Et al, and the bureaucracy itself.

    If the electorate really does want their full statutory PFD, then they have a lot more work to do at the voting booth, and they’ll have to wait for the next election to do it… but for those who don’t want it, they can start sending checks in the morning.

  • APR 17. Granted, the PFD and the vetoes were a no win situation for Dunleavy, but he had the choice of holding the line or giving in, and he gave and gave, and gave, and conceded to the Legislature an issue that he made the centerpiece of his campaign.
    IN HIS FIRST MAJOR BATTLE, HE BACKED OFF, FIRST BLOOD GOES TO THE LEGISLATURE.
    Giesel and Edgmond must be ecstatic, blood is drawn, and the wolves gather.

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