After days of delay, House fails to allow public to vote on putting Permanent Fund dividend sideboards in Alaska’s Constitution

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The Alaska House voted against allowing voters the right to establish in the Alaska Constitution a requirement that legislators and the governor follow a set formula — any legal formula in statute — when establishing each year’s Permanent Fund dividend amount.

The Legislature could change the formula in statute, according to House Joint Resolution 7, but would have to then follow the law or change the law again. The key in the resolution is that the Legislature must follow the laws it writes.

Although the majority of mainly Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, it required a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate in order to go before voters. It only had 22 votes in the House, with 18 voting against it, including House Minority Leader Rep. Cal Schrage of Anchorage, who was on the Fiscal Policy Working Group that last year recommended a constitutionally sound Permanent Fund dividend.

“The FPWG unanimously recommends restructuring the Permanent Fund to be a single, constitutionally-protected account with draws limited by the percent of the Permanent Fund’s market value (POMV). Consistent with current year rolling average to calculate the POMV,” the working group wrote in its final report, which was then supported by Schrage.

Read the Fiscal Policy Working Group Final Report here.

Since 2016, when Gov. Bill Walker broke the trust with Alaskans and vetoed half of their annual dividend, the Legislature has essentially determined each year how little they can get away with as a dividend amount. On election years, the amount seems to go up.

Rep. Ben Carpenter and Rep. Kevin McCabe were also part of the Fiscal Policy Working Group. They voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 7, which was sponsored by Carpenter, a Republican from Nikiski.

Without constitutional protection, the Legislature is caught every year arguing vehemently over the amount the dividend will be. The matter eclipses all other topics in the Legislature and dominates each legislative session and with this vote, it appears the fight over the dividend will continue to dominate every year going forward, a gift from Gov. Walker that keeps on giving.

52 COMMENTS

  1. The legislature will never allow us serfs to have input in this matter. It’s theirs now.

    Sooner or sooner those imbeciles will allow themselves to access the corpus. It’s just too much money they don’t have. Yet.

      • “……..along comes the income tax.”
        That’s coming regardless, and especially as soon as there’s am ecure PFD in place. Their ultimate wet dream is a guaranteed cash benefit to distribute to the “poor” and a tax to drain the “rich”. It’s the stuff communists dream of.
        Don’t want an income or sales tax? Keep the PFD wars going. And always remember that as soon as the Permanent Fund itself disappears, we lose at least 25% of our “poor” and 30% of our money wolves (lawyers, politicians, and NGOs). Money attracts scum like blood attracts bacteria.

      • An income tax wouldn’t kill you. Alaskans are a spoiled, entitled lot who enjoy the lowest tax burden in the Country, and who have come to believe that large PFDs and no income taxes is their birthright.

  2. Not surprised at the Ortiz vote. Cashing all that can be cashed to protect his educational teacher funding is his singular mission

  3. “….it appears the fight over the dividend will continue to dominate every year going forward…”
    This is as it should be. The Dividend will exist until the government runs out of money which I am sure will eventually happen.
    The Dividend amount will continue to be determined by the maximum amount possible without instantly bankrupting the Treasury.
    Not the smartest way to build a State.

  4. These people are no longer “representative government” when they steal from us year after year. Cut the damn budget!

    • Caterina. I think the budget has been eviscerated. The only unsupportable outrageous expenses are Dunleavy’s Unicorn warriors.

  5. Why do politicians get to decide on the people’s money?
    There should be a vote on whether you want a PFD or more taxes or cut the state budget.
    It’s the peoples choice not lying money grabbing power hungry politicians.

    • MArk. THe money in the PF belongs to the state, not individual residents. Theoretically, legislators make decisions on our behalf; they represent us.

      • Paola, you are utterly and absolutely WRONG (as usual). The Permanent Fund Dividend does NOT belong to the state, not in any way or sense! It belongs collectively to the people of Alaska, and having power-mad political sociopaths helping themselves to it is pure theft, and needs to be prosecuted as such.

        But trying to talk logic and facts and sense to a radical leftist extremist like you is like trying to teach algebra to a coconut.

        • “……..The Permanent Fund Dividend does NOT belong to the state, not in any way or sense! It belongs collectively to the people of Alaska………”
          The collective people of Alaska IS the state. Handing out state assets for people to spend on Chinese junk, illegal narcotics, alcohol, vacations to Hawaii, etc, etc, ad nauseum, is an incredible waste of investment that should be going back into our state in the form of HUGE capital expenditures.

          • Reggie, like Paola, you could not be more wrong.

            How can you claim, and believe, that there is no difference between the population of individuals, and the government itself? Those are two ENTIRELY separate entities! And “the state” is just a fiction; there is the population, and then there is the government. There is some overlap between the two, of course, as the government consists of individuals as well, but the general population is no more the government, nor “the state”, than my dog is a kangaroo.

        • You will gladly eviscerate the State’s budget and starve the population of necessary services just so that you can have your precious PFD. Have you no regard whatsoever for the common good?

          • Hans, your radical leftist extremist slip is showing again.

            “Eviscerate the budget”! Ha ha! Bring it on! With the government of the state of Alaska spending FAR more per capita than any other state, we could cut our state budget by 50% and still be living high on the hog, governmental-spending-wise. From my first day living in Alaska, I was dumbstruck by the total financial cluelessness of Alaskans such as you (if you are even actually an Alaskan), who existed then, and exist even more so now, completely removed from any sense of financial reality.

            And just to learn you a little fact that you rabid leftist statists and worshipers of government conveniently ignore and love to lie about, there is NO legal connection between the PFD and the state budget. NONE! There has only ILLEGALLY become so since former governor Walker, to his everlasting damnation and shame, started stealing from the PFD to fund an already woefully overbloated state budget — an illegal action that our utterly corrupt state judiciary shamefully allowed.

      • Paola
        You are in need of some true facts and not that leftist BS your Believing.
        You are not a true Alaskan and should relocate to another place like Gaza.

      • That is the most uninformed statement you’ve made yet. A dubious accomplishment to be sure.

        It shows a lack of understanding of history, legal processes, contracts, economics, and just about everything else.

        • That is an absurd, yet oh too common, statist lie.

          The people of Alaska are diametrically opposite to the state of Alaska, i.e. the government. Power is a zero-sum situation, and the more power you hand to the government, the less power remains in the hands of the people. But you, being the radical leftist extremist that you are, wish to see ALL power in the hands of the government, naively believing that you would in that case be one of those who would directing the power of the government. And you wish that to be the case because you are a sociopath.

  6. Can this be accomplished (getting on the ballot) via a citizen’s initiative? Unfortunately it seems that is the only way to try & get things done these days.

  7. Of course the house did. How can government steal from the serfs if government’s hands are tied by the constitution..? And this is another reason why the house and senate need to move north and out of the influence of Seattle.

  8. Got mineral rights? Citizens of Alaska and Hawaii were were shafted by our federal govt. when becoming states. State govt. retained mineral rights on the lands transfered (somehow not completed) to the state. Governor Hammond said the state govt. could not equally spend/distribute the billions of oil (mineral) wealth to meet our diverse needs. The many failed projects around our state prove that he was not only correct, but govt. is eternally best at wasting tax dollars.Short story, the PFD started in 1981 to return a portion of our fund investment earnings directly to us. Former one term governor Walker and company decided to re-invent/hijack the thirty plus year old statutory dividend, because our govt. now knows best.
    Let’s restore the original/lawful program and allow those who think govt. can best spend their money to not file, or directly donate to a Seattle lobbyist.

  9. One of the most poignant moments of debate on HJR7 was an exchange I had with Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) over whether the PFD calculation in state law should be placed in the constitution:

    He was very opposed to putting the calculation in the constitution and said: “We would sacrifice power to the administration because we would have much less to fight over as legislators. Our role as legislators would seriously regress.” (https://www.ktoo.org/gavel/video/?clientID=2147483647&eventID=2024021316&startStreamAt=7945)

    My response: “That is the problem! We as legislators should never have been in the situation of answering and asking the question of ourselves “what should we do to spend the money that is not going to be spent on the dividend this year?” (https://www.ktoo.org/gavel/video/?clientID=2147483647&eventID=2024021316&startStreamAt=8533)

    Also, during debate on Rep. Carpenter’s House Joint Resolution 7 we knew (strongly suspected) that the 27 votes to pass the amendment were not there. We put forward a number of amendments which could have helped us get to the 27 votes we needed for it to pass.

    There were several amendments put forward. Rep. Carpenter voted against all of them.

    Some of those amendments included:
    Amendment #6 – Requiring the legislature to confirm board members of the Permanent Fund Corporation.
    (https://www.akleg.gov/PDF/33/A/HJR007-H006.PDF)

    Amendment #7 – Requiring the legislature to pass a law before the amendment would go into effect.
    (https://www.akleg.gov/PDF/33/A/HJR007-H007.PDF)

    I believe this amendment should have been taken more seriously. It might need to have been adjusted, but with adjustments we may have been able to reach the 27 votes needed to get it passed.

    • Andy Josephson is a radical leftist Jew that promotes LGBTQ and communist, anti-culture agendas. All facts he will proudly own .
      Not surprised he has contempt for the traditional laws of our state.

  10. It’s plain and simple. Look at the names in the picture at top of story who voted “no”. These people have made a puplic declaration that they do not intend to follow the law; they will keep money that is rightfully yours and spend it on whatever they want.

    How does any Alaskan citizen trust these legislators to do right after such a declaration? How do these legislators continue to hold office?

  11. A guaranteed basic income will weigh down the budget and is fiscally irresponsible. You get what you vote for.

  12. Either give us our original constitutional amount or give us our individual subsurface mineral rights.
    You own 2 inches deep in Alaska because we all own what’s underneath, not our government us, they work for us and we own this place.

  13. I’m grateful to the Democrat representatives for saving our state from the enormous folly of HJR 7, which would enshrine a free cash hand-out, as a basic human right, just for breathing.
    I’m a Republican, but I appreciated the excellent points made by Democrat Rep. Andy Josephson, when he said on the House floor: “First of all, I rise as a fiscal conservative, and I oppose the liberal spending that would be created by this amendment.” (Apr. 11, 2024, 1:37 PM). Other Democrats, like Rep. Zack Fields, also made excellent points as to why HJR 7 should be voted down.
    .
    Governor Walker did a heroic thing when he vetoed half the PFD in 2016. He knew he was committing political suicide, but he knew something had to be done to save the state from falling off the fiscal cliff, when oil prices crashed in 2014, and the state faced a $4 billion budget deficit.
    As a Republican, i have never voted for Walker, but I admire his courage.

    • Sure, Josephson only opposes liberal spending when it comes to giving individuals the money but you can bet he just loves liberal spending on government programs. You know why? Government knows best as they’ve proven over the last several decades.

    • What is it about alleged Alaska Republicans who heap praise all over democrats? Some weird version of Stockholm Syndrome?

    • Randy I am waiting for you to show support and put the state of Alaska on all your bank accounts.
      You want big government you pay for it.

      • Mark, I have happily taken the PFD since 1982 to 2014.
        But in 2015, I sent my uncashed paper PFD check back to the state, and donated it to the state’s general fund. This is because of the giant budget deficit at the time.
        .
        I have continued to apply for, and receive the paper PFD check every year since then. However, I have continued to send all those uncashed PFD checks back to the state, including the 2023 PFD check ($1312.00). In my letter of explanation to the Alaska Department of Revenue, I stated that “I do not presently feel comfortable accepting this PFD check because the state’s Constitutional Budget Reserve savings account has not yet been adequately replenished”. It was severely sucked down after the crash of oil prices in 2014-15.
        .
        I do not want a bigger government. I think if we got rid of collective bargaining for state employees, we could save money on government services and could make more room for a bigger PFD within a balanced budget.

    • Randy’s comment was one of the best, trolliest comments yet: “I’m a Republican”. Hahaha No, you aren’t. You are a troll. Maybe – even – you are related to Scott Kendall.

      • Ginny. I’ve been a registered Republican all my adult life. I think I’ve only voted for one Democrat in my whole life. I’m 69 now.
        I think there is nothing wrong with complimenting some Democrats, if and when they do something conservative and good.
        Saving Alaska from the horror of morphing our good and pure dividend (based on surplus) into an evil Universal Public Assistance Payment, is a good thing.
        Ultimately injecting a Universal Basic Income into our Alaska Constitution, would poison it.
        .
        As far as the House Republicans who voted for HJR-7, I believe that a temporary fog, clouded their vision. I can understand that the fear of being labeled as “anti-PFD” by their opponents in the next election pressured them into voting for HJR-7, even though the long-term consequences of HJR-7 would have forever damaged Alaska.

    • “I’m grateful to the Democrat representatives for saving our state from the enormous folly of HJR 7, which would enshrine a free cash hand-out, as a basic human right, just for breathing………..”
      I agree that the PFD needs to go, but I also trust those Democrats are opposing the folly specifically to steer the PFD resources toward handouts that they control completely. Both sides of the aisle (as well as 700,000 individual Alaskan consumers of cheap Chinese junk and mind altering intoxicants) are essentially fighting for control of that money.
      Too bad they can’t manage the PFD like the Norwegians manage theirs.

      • Reggie Taylor. You say: “I agree that the PFD needs to go,…”.
        .
        I just want to clarify my position that I do not want the PFD “to go”. In fact, I want the PFD to be as high as will fit in a balanced budget. But the amount needs to be flexible, to accommodate the variety of priorities that benefit Alaskans, such as rail infrastructure.
        .
        Also, I advocate for 2 PFDs per year: The existing 1982 style PFD, plus something similar to the original classic 1980 PFD program, that ultimately gives a bigger share to long-time Alaskan residents, who have endured many grueling Alaskan winters. I call this extra supplementary PFD, the “Hammond Bond”. I explain it at www dot pfdbudget dot com (which includes a picture of the proposed bond certificate).
        .
        The “Hammond Bond” program would not cost the state much, because it would only go to adults, and would only pay $50 per year per bond, similar to the original 1980 PFD program. But each year, a resident could buy an additional bond (for $5) and accumulate them, for a bigger and bigger payout each year.

  14. Those House Republicans are working very well together holding the line. Most of them are the same team who worked under Rep Pruitt. He’s your guy for your Alaska GOP chair. He’s young enough that he has growing years. He has gained enough experience the GOP needs from the next chair.

  15. If we pooled our resources we could sue the state for fraud and theft.

    The PFD was in exchange for mineral rights.

    Either pay us the agreed dividend from a business deal or release the mineral rights.

    • Domestic E A Here. I came to Fairbanks for good in 1974. I bought my 1-acre land in 1979. But it did not come with deep-down mineral rights, and the price I paid reflected that. So, I never had any deep-down mineral rights that were then taken away from me. However, I can get all the water I want from my well and all the gravel and dirt that I choose to scoop up. I can grow a garden on my land, and eat all the vegetables that grow from my soil.
      .
      I never entered into any “agreement” for a dividend. I never exchanged any of my possessions for a dividend. Therefore, there was no “fraud” or breach of contract, if the dividend is trimmed back. i never signed any contract with the state.
      .
      Even if I did have deep down mineral rights, there is no oil beneath my 1-acre lot here in Fairbanks. Though I don’t “individually” own any deep-down mineral rights, I do possess deep-down mineral rights on all state land, “in common”, with 700,000 other Alaskans. We Alaskans decide as a group, how any proceeds (the state’s share) from the extraction of those minerals and oil are divvied up for our benefit. We make that decision through our elected representatives. We take the benefit of the proceeds, in the form of government services, infrastructure, maintenance, and direct cash. We (most of us) also insist that those benefits for us, all fit in a balanced budget, so that there are no bad deficits.

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