AFL-CIO comes out blasting a full dividend for Alaskans, calling it ‘irresponsible’

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The AFL-CIO of Alaska has sent a strong message to lawmakers in the Alaska House to not concur with the Senate version of the budget, which uses the statutory and legal formula for the calculating the Permanent Fund dividend. The current dividend and energy aid check totals about $5,500 for every qualifying Alaskan.

In a message to lawmakers, the AFL-CIO, which represents many government workers in Alaska, poured shame on any lawmaker who dared to vote for a full PFD. The union has an interest in protecting the state’s workforce.

“…close, but no cigar,” wrote Joelle Hall, president of Alaska AFL-CIO, urging a no vote to the PFD. “Shame on every legislator who has stood in the way of good policy to save a penny, only to throw it all away on an irresponsible dividend.” The AFL-CIO said elected officials have tainted and “tainted an otherwise responsible budget by voting for an unsustainable mega-PFD.”

The union bosses said the full PFD would set an unrealistic expectations for what future dividends would be.

The Alaska House is considering a budget from the Senate that, for the first time since 2016, would follow the statutory formula for the dividend. With oil at over $111 a barrel and with an election on the horizon for almost all legislators, there seems to be a greater sense of urgency to follow the law and not cut the dividend in half as it has been done in recent years.

If the House doesn’t pass the Senate budget, the matter is resolved in a conference committee made up of a handful of majority lawmakers.

65 COMMENTS

  1. Boy, they are reaching deep trying to sell a bunch of brovo Sierra. What kind of organization would encourage the legislators to break the law? I’m not buying it.
    The PFD will do so much good for the people.
    The people of this organization selling this spin are shameful.

    • The PFD and energy payment will indeed do a lot for the people. And not just those who are current residents. Wannabe residents after one year too. And it will also do a lot for the federal government. Don’t forget these payments are taxable.

      And do not be surprised if hoards of people from the lower 48 start arriving soon. When the word gets out in the lower 48 that every man woman and child who establish residency after only one year will be eligible for the PFD and what ever other gift the Administration hands out. Imagine a family of 6 getting over $32,000 for just being here for one year. Added to that amount may be unemployment benefits. Then imagine the long line of vehicles full of families heading up the Ak Highway. And they will indeed be coming for that free money.

      • Been hearing that phony balony for years. Alaska is too expensive to come to just for the PFD, but anti-PFD proponents have been using that argument forever.
        The unions just want all that money for pay raises for union members who will pay dues to union bosses who will endorse political candidates who will throw more more to the unions. Old, old story.

        • Steve, when the PFD was $1,000 or so, then maybe your argument has some merit. But when larger families from the lower 48 see that the State will be paying $5,500 to each person in the family, the incentive is exponentially different. I personally have known a few families that told me receiving the PFD combined with working in a State that has no income tax nor a sales tax were the motivations for their family moving to Alaska. And if or when we enter into the next recession, the resource rich State of Alaska will likely entice even more newcomers.
          I am not saying it is all wrong. I am merely pointing out likely consequences. Those in addition to the impact on the sustainability of the permanent fund, inflationary aspects, providing federal taxes to the IRS enabling more inflationary spending by our govt. Not to mention the cultural changes and future expectations that happen when people are given money they did not earn.

  2. If you don’t understand these dynamics, then you should know that the labor unions and public employee unions in Alaska want the PFT for themselves. They don’t want an equal distribution to other Alaskans, they just want it all for themselves. They want to STEAL your pdf and keep it. This is who many of our politicians sell out to after they’re elected.

    • Caterina, of course you are correct, because fundamentally that is what government is all about — stealing from some to redistribute to (favored) others. Government is simply the mafia writ large.

  3. The liberal jibberish, take your medicine, learn to live with less and you will really like it in the end – says the Nobleman to the Serfs! How dare we get used to a large dividend, which by the way is ours to begin with. We are at an important time in our country people, you either stand for freedom, liberty and the original America or side with the Noblemen who will take everything they can get from you as they have done all through history. They want and are producing a society with no middle class in which people can be controlled so much easier because the upper class dictates to the lower class.
    “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
    Harry Truman – Special message to the congress on the internal security of the United States. August 8th 1950

  4. Tell me please…that the AFL-CIO will instruct its government members to strike if there is a full PFD paid….

    Can you imagine how much we will save when be don’t have to pay union employee’s?

  5. AFL-CIO definition of “irresponsible” – anything that reduces the chance of them receiving a fat pay raise. Thieves! It is NOT the State’s money and you shouldn’t be anywhere in line to receive stolen property, especially from legislators that you have carefully groomed for your members largess. And if your fellow lefties have their way, there won’t be much of a PFD next year because the feds are trying to prevent drilling – any raise you get by stealing from us won’t have the funds to support it next year and you will be screaming for a TAX because there “isn’t enough money”. Blow your smoke somewhere else Joelle Hall – Alaskans are smarter than that. Understand that State employees already make significantly more than their private sector counterparts – and the unions are begging for a defined-benefit pension that will bankrupt the State. STOP THE STEAL. Pass the Senate version of the operating budget with the statutory PFD and the energy subsidy please – then give us the back PFDs with interest that were stolen from us.

  6. No full, statutory PFD for citizens, but……union bosses want the state to spend the money enriching the union bosses with inflated contracts, raises, sweetheart deals, and kickbacks. Why is this so easy to understand?
    .
    Unions = corruption, Communism, and cronyism.
    And many of those serving in the Legislature work for them, or are friends, related, or married to them (union bosses).

      • You got that right, Oink Oink. Keep waddling your way up to the slop trough. I bet you have no problems paying for your heating fuel, property taxes or home repairs, do you? But your favorite thing is to look down at everyone with your smug snout.

  7. You have to love the reasoning: They are saving us from “…unrealistic expectations for what future dividends would be.” THANK YOU, thank you! In anticipation of possible disappointment in the future, let’s pay out less today.
    How does that logic work in the real world, say a marriage?
    Husband: “Honey, I know we planned and paid for the honeymoon, but I am afraid each year you’ll be disappointed because we won’t be in Hawaii like we were planning tomorrow. So, in the interest of avoiding unrealistic expectations for future vacations, I will cancel our flight and hotel, and we will just find a cozy place in Wasilla instead.”
    Wife: “Are you a closet Democrat?”

    • @Scott Rees,
      Have you ever checked out the educational level of the average union boss? Typical: high school dropout, joined a union at age 18 in lieu of military service, daddy worked for the union, was hand-picked by other union bosses because of low IQ and easy to brainwash. And still, the union bosses think they can fool everyone.

  8. The Union is not part of the governing process and need to STFU and move along, like the dinosaurs they are.

  9. So the union is telling the legislature not to give its members $5500 a person?

    Alaska is dead unless it gets rid of state union workers

  10. Most Alaskans aren’t in the AFL-CIO. Most Alaskans have to work for a living and don’t have and organization to blackmail their employers into paying them enough to keep up with the insane costs of having a Commy Dweeb, put in place by a stolen election, killing our Country as fast as he can. Don’t forget – The AFL-CIO supported this fake President in the STOLEN ELECTION.
    ALASKANS – WAKE UP AND SMELL THE CRAP WHEN IT’S A STEEMING PILE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE

  11. Anyone that knows finance- and is paying attention to the dismal performance of the stock market lately would be opposed to a big payout.

    Why has the APFC not released the numbers for the performance of the fund over April? How many billions of dollars has the fund lost?

    For example, APFC holds about 85,000 shares of AMZN- and that one stock has lost about 1,000.00 dollars per share over the last 6 weeks. That is a 85 million dollar loss in that one stock.

    Paying out large dividends as the market moves into bear territory is very unwise. Plus, anyone with an IQ above 70 knows the Biden administration is destroying the US economy with its policies. We have the worst inflation in 40 years and Biden demonstrates that he does not understand how his policies are making inflation worse. Two examples. Biden has imposed higher tariffs on steel and lumber- and continues to push for more deficit spending which has clearly been shown to increase inflation.

    The markets are going to continue to collapse as long as we have a moron as president.

    Alaska needs to be looking at growing the corpus of our fund if we care about the long term finances of Alaska. To do that we need to be placing more money into the corpus in order to grow the fund.

    I don’t trust the motives of the AFL- CIO, but they are correct about two things in their statement- paying a massive dividend is not fiscally conservative, and it does increase the chance of the legislature imposing new taxes- which I oppose.

    • “The markets are going to continue to collapse as long as we have a moron as president.”
      .
      Going to have to disagree with that. Too many moving parts, and a single person, regardless of position cannot hold that much sway. However… the problem is not the pResident, it is the people who support him, advise him, and believe the effluent flowing out of his mouth. It is the idiots who blindly support every nominee he proposes for Cabinet/Court positions. It is the morons who think it is OK to pay more for fuel because “climate.” Those are the real problem. Not the resident of the oval office.
      .
      Sure, Biden is the king of fools, but the real problem are the fools who elected him king.
      .
      .
      And, before I get blasted by the leftists trolls that inhabit this site, I said exactly the same thing about Trump, and both Bush Presidencies. (I was a hard core liberal during the Reagan administration, so not including him in the list, as I was too blinded by bias to have a valid opinion.)

      • CBM, well Biden blames all of this on Putin. (I had no idea Putin had more control over the US economy than the President).

        Biden is doing everything he can to make matters worse… higher tariffs, so we pay more for lumber, and steel. He shut down the Keystone XL pipeline- that was fully permitted and under construction. He STILL continues to want more, trillion dollar deficit spending. He wants to give away 100’s of billions to people who borrowed money for student loans. He allows hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to cross our border, per month. He then uses our money to fly these illegals to their final destinations… And he gives them welfare.

        How is it going to get better under Biden?

    • No what needs to be done is cut contract cost. The PFD is payed on a 5 year average return not a month to month return. If you play in the stock market you don’t run and sell at the first moment the Stock Market moves down into correction territory.
      Public Service Unions are a farce and need to be disbanded. The people in service to the government work for us the taxpayer if they want more money have them send in extra tax payments so they can have that redistributed back to them.
      So you want to advocate to hurt Alaskans just because they have a had a few bad weeks in the market. Besides Alaskans have not received the PFD since 2015 based on the formula calculation as has been done in the past 40 years.
      It is time the Alaska Legislature moves to rebalance the intake/outtake into the new reality of less revenue. There are many programs that can and should be reduced in size to bring the budget back into the new normal not continue to spend what you don’t have.

      • You are spot on that the old dividend formula has not been followed. An average family has lost $15 thousand dollars because of this. This all happened after SB-21 because law. Your dividend money was used to subsidize the richest corporations on the planet- with a $8 dollar per barrel welfare credit.

    • M, it’s not their money, it’s the peoples money.

      The original intent of the fund was to constrain Government Spending and to set aside sums for the People. Simple as that.

      Oral Freeman would be screaming mad if he were alive today to see that the fund is construed as being in place to fund Government.

      Government has the plenary power to tax and or lay waste to society and the economy as they see fit. The fund however isn’t their money to spend, in statute there remains a formula for paying dividends which the legislature has ignored.

      I don’t trust the Legislature or AFL-CIO with the people’s money, I do however trust the people with their own money. Give the people their money and let the Legislature figure out how to fund Government services.

      • Okay Robert, do you want an income tax? A sales tax? A hike in gasoline taxes? Or how about we get a better share for our oil- as the Alaska Constitution requires? You are correct the dividend payout has not followed the old statute. Your family has lost about $15,000.00 dollars. This happened after SB-21 went into effect and we paid massive amounts of corporate welfare to Conoco, Exxon, BP. We lost billions in dividend money to fund this corporate welfare. You (we) have been ripped off.

        • M, my point is the P- Fund is the people’s $. As I stated, the Legislature has the power to tax. Taxes are not popular, hence the need to rip off your PFD. This rip off is an onerous tax upon the backs of those least able to pay it.

          I don’t know how long you have lived in Alaska, but we had a tax back before 1980. We also had much better government back then too. Seems that the parasitic class has infested us since that time and has instilled in the minds of many that they are essential. They are not. We can give up the entire Fund to the parasitic class and we will still be taxed without a PFD.

    • Anyone that knows finance and knows anything about the PFD knows that there are realized gains or losses and unrealized gains or losses, the statutory PFD is paid with realized gains as the dividend comes out of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve. What you are speaking of regarding Amazon share price is unrealized gains or losses and have absolutely nothing to do with the dividend.

      • Everything you write is correct, Steve O. But, the corpus has shrunk by $3 billion in one month- unrealized losses. Do we go for record dividends now? One more quarter of GDP loss and we will officially be in a recession. Is it better to grow the corpus and not pay record dividends? Is it better to try and grow our fund to $100 billion? Paying record dividends in this environment is not going to help grow the fund. What is in the best interests of Alaska?

    • M,
      It’s a statutory payout. This is what was codified into law. Besides, the Fund has over $80 BILLION. The PFD was designed to help Alaskans, especially in a time of need. Joe Biden is running our country into economic ruin. This is our time of need, not for the State to spend more.

      • Judie, we’ve lost about $3 billion dollars over the last month. The corpus is now down to $78.3 billion (May 12, 2022).

        The statutory payout has been ignored for years because of SB-21. After SB-21 went into effect we used all the money ($18billion) in the SBR and CBR. That $18 billion was money we managed to save under ACES.

        Rather than impose taxes our dividends have been cut. If we had not been subjected to SB-21 our dividends would not have been cut.

  12. The same AFL/CIO demanding passage of the defined benefit revision of police and fire retirement. Apparently fiscal irresponsibility is only in the eye of the beholder. Alternately, they want the PFD $$$ for themselves and think they have sufficient democrats in office or about to be elected to make it happen. Cheers –

  13. AFL/CIO is against it!?! That’s validation that it is good for individual Alaskans! Yes, Virginia, some issues are pretty simply understood..

  14. Unions, why can’t WE GETOUR SHARE.. YOU ALWAYS gets twice + MORE yours and now we have a chance to get something that’s been denied to us for the past 6-7 years.. YOU ARE SUCH DUPPIES AND “DIPWITS”.

  15. Does the AFL-CIO believe that unions should not negotiate benefits for their members, like pay, retirement, vacation, healthcare? After all, we don’t want them to expect those benefits in the future, how irresponsible! Somehow they say it’s different with money already in the bank, that the people own. Yes, they want it all for themselves.

  16. Unions have not worked in the best interest of employees for decades. They have been working in the best interest of the union instead, all other considerations secondary.
    .
    There is no real difference between union, company management, and government bureaucracy. All exist for one purpose, to serve themselves, and grow their power. If the little people get hurt, who cares. In the mind of all three, they are the “people.” and disagreeing with this makes you the problem.
    .
    If a union says they support a politician or a law, it generally means the long term outcome is going to harm the public at large.

  17. Their afraid of losing the money stream. Follow the money. I will bet the normal person would want what was rightfully theirs.

  18. Full dividend is what the formula calls for, and who made the AFL-CIO the Alaska dividend gurus? Only 15% of work in Alaska is done by Union labor so work on capturing a larger portion of work for your members and I will decide ifa full dividend is in order!

  19. M makes a legitimate point. Because the voters elected a moron president, the timing for withdrawing funds to pay the required payout is bad. However, our fund grew exponentially at times when the market was roaring. To my knowledge, there is no provision in the statute for electing to pay an amount and the time of a PFD based on market conditions. Our legislators continue to break the statutory requirement or to honor it.

  20. What an incredible PR blunder by the AFL-CIO Alaska! This will not play well with the many hard working AFL-CIO members in Alaska who are not a party to the public service unions and will only strengthen the poor image of union leaders who are out of touch with their rank and file. Very poor optics. Whoever came up with this idea should be booted out of office.

  21. Joelle Hall? Never heard of him. Don’t recall the fate of the PFD being determined by a labor group rep.

    The reality is that the PFD is attracting a disproportionate number of dirtbags to Alaska including those too stupid to realize that you can’t breed your way to prosperity. That program needs to go and when it does Alaska will have better fiscal balance. A tighter budget; sure. But more oriented toward those that work as opposed to those that squeeze out another cretin as their primary path to success.The PFD is a welfare program. Shame on Ron and Penny.

    • Trouser, in general I enjoy your erudite comments, here however I find that I must disagree. Alaska is losing population, not gaining population for the sake of a PFD some 18 months or two years in the future for a newly arrived dirt bag. Speaking of dirt bags, it seems that there are a host of them and special interests boast the most of them… (a little Frank Zappa paraphrase)

      The concept of the Fund was to limit Government’s ability to spend vast sums of mineral wealth and thereby keep government and its mistress Corruption in check and at bay. Also the original intent was to insure a little moolah for the “salt of the earth” Alaskans who were not members of a public employee union or a member of AGC or who worked for a Consulting Firm. Little guys, like the fellow who packs your groceries or changes your tire.
      I hope that clears it up for you Trouser, if not come on back.

  22. The PFD is a contract between the SOA and the citizens of Alaska that has been broken starting with Bill Walker. How would the AFL-CIO like it if the State decided to nullify all Union contracts and pay them what they feel is appropriate for a fiscal responsible budget? They would be screaming bloody murder. The unions are part of the problem that got us into this mess to begin with.

  23. Pay out the full PFD trust account now! Real Alaskans drive 4wd and don’t need paved or plowed roads–that’s just for the Little Lefty’s in their stupid Teslas!

  24. What Unions Have Done For You

    The Weekend. In 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now. …
    End of Child Labor. …
    40 hour work week. …
    8 hour work day.
    Unemployment Benefits.
    Workers Compensation Laws.
    Employer-Based Health Coverage.
    Family and Medical Leave Act.

    • I’ll play along…

      -it’s not 1870.
      -unions themselves did not create family leave, workers comp, unemployment, ect. They especially didn’t create employer health care. Ford did to attract the best workers.
      Nor did unions split the atom, slice bread, or invent cable TV.
      -unions have ruined education. They kept kids masked and out of some schools for years. They allowed teachers (not actually in class) to jump the line for Covid shots.
      -nearly bankrupted the US auto industry.
      -destroyed Eastern Airlines.
      -feel you up at the gate every time you fly.
      -ruined the US steel industry
      -funded a variety of mafia activities and built Vegas
      -choked the USPS.
      -strangled growth and innovation in blue state governments
      -made “made in America” so unaffordable most clothing manufacturers left for Asian sweatshops
      -turned higher ed into hard left indoctrination centers
      -contributed to the supply chain breakdown by stifling loading/unloading procedures in CA.

      Shall I go on? The list is quite impressive of the negative impacts unions have had on America.

      It’s also quite impressive the innovation in American life in red states as they were able to work without major union interference. One of my favorites is the rise of Japanese cars. Detroit’s costs (mostly due to union wages) made cars insanely unaffordable. In came Japan with lower cost and better made cars. I’ve only owned two cars in my adult life. Both Japanese made. My buy American wife has been through six.

      Unions are not, per se, bad things. Their contributions to US society are undeniable. But they are not the greatest thing ever to happen to America or the American worker.

  25. What a great opportunity for public sector union members who are sick of this type of thing from out-of-touch union bosses to exercise their opt-out rights under the Janus case! Why would anybody continue to pay dues to an organization that works in opposition to their interests? This site has some good opt-out guidance:

    ‘https://standwithworkers.org/workers-rights
    It’s my understanding that since public sector unions have monopolies on memberships, they must represent employees regardless of dues paying status.
    You can bet the union bosses are going to be throwing their support and $$$ behind China Bill Walker (the “Godfather of PFD statutory malfeasance”).

  26. I was refused a state job when asked if I would join their union and I said no. Union jobs are 8-5. The job I was going for (in the real world) requires odd hours and sometimes working until it’s fixed. I did not get the job and the department was later hammered by code red and nimbda viruses. The job re-opened. It re-opened 3 times. I did not apply. Someone from that office contacted me and asked why I did not apply. “should have hired me the first time, your loss” (CLICK).

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