Alaska House to debate, vote on protecting PFD formula through state constitution

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House Joint Resolution 7 would require the State of Alaska pay the annual Permanent Fund dividend according to a formula in statute, rather than by the “what’s leftover” process, which is what the Legislature now uses.

The House will take it up on Monday during the floor session.

There is a statutory formula for the dividend, of course, but the Legislature ignores it, and has since 2017.

“The trust between the government and the people of Alaska was broken in 2016 when Governor Walker vetoed a portion of the annual dividend and the Alaska Supreme Court ultimately determined that dividends were subject to the annual appropriations process. While the legislature could choose to follow the law and appropriate the dividend according to statute and separate it from the budget, they have not done so. Instead, the permanent fund dividend has been subjected to the budget process, where the dividend competes with government spending and often becomes the deficit reduction solution,” wrote Rep. Ben Carpenter, the sponsor of the resolution.

“Neglecting to constitutionalize the PFD would permit lawmakers to continue avoiding their obligation to address the shortcomings of Alaska’s fiscal and economic planning, placing the Permanent Fund at risk. Constitutionally enshrining the Permanent Fund Dividend will provide for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans and ensure the prosperity of the Permanent Fund for generations of Alaskans to come,” Carpenter said.

The House will gavel in at 11 am.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Wasn’t Walker the original raider of the PFD? Or have the distributions always been at the will of whomever is in power?

      • Suzanne: Well, to qualify that, he was the first successful raider of the PFD. The PFD has been square in the crosshairs of every single legislature since it was first enacted AND, just as importantly proponents of raiding the fund come from both sides of the isle.

        • Yes Bob, & the one this article is written about it admits it “While the legislature could choose to follow the law and appropriate the dividend according to statute and separate it from the budget, they have not done so. The qualifying it to boot is guilt that should be acted upon by WE The People. If they were BONDED as they should be & if our Governor would Honor his oath We The People could do an” ACTION” on their Bonds (As 39.15.030) & get OUR money! We The People has well over $10,000.00 each that they toke by Acts of Omissions! The key word in Bens admission is “could” and I useta could spend that money but they spend that stolen money!

  2. This is why the state fought a Constitutional Convention so hard. A constitutionally mandated PFD payout would seriously limit their ability to grow unnecessary and burdensome government.

    • Wrong again MA. They will simply impose income and sales taxes and user fees to finance your beloved Dividend.

      • Oh Chris, Your inability to think really limits you.

        Tell me Chris, who did you donate your PFD to every year? Inquiring minds want to know. After all, as holy and self righteous as you are, you certainly didn’t keep a penny of yours. Pause while I laugh at your expense. And I’m laughing at you a lot.

        You are turning into the Alaska equivalent of Joe Biden. Ranting at things no one else sees.

        If you had thought (a stretch for you, you’ve proven) before frothing, you’d have noticed nothing in my post precluded the legislature in finding other ways to fund their unrestrained and unnecessary growth. What I said (try to keep us. I’ll use simple words. It’s Ok if you move your lips while reading.

        I said the state fought hard to prevent a Constitutional Convention. Factually true.
        I said a constitutional statue would severely limit the state’s unrestrained growth. Factually true.

        I never said it would stop the growth.
        I never said they wouldn’t find ways to work around it.
        I have said, repeatedly, the state is going to reinstate an income tax.
        I have said, repeatedly, the state will never stop until they get access to the PF corpus.
        I have said, repeatedly, once they have the corpus they will burn through it quickly.

        It was the state of Alaska who entered into a contract with the people of Alaska. They created a mechanism to pay us dividends (a concept clearly beyond you) once they made us partners in the business of Alaska. Therefore they are legally required to pay out accordingly. In any other state the acts of the legislature and Walker would be criminal. But this is Alaska (did you know that) where we make up and ignore laws as we see fit.

        The system worked fine until Walker broke it.

        Chris, you remind me of the old United Negro College Fund slogan. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. And boy are you wasting yours.

          • MA & MG both of you are so correct & if the Public Officials that fail to follow the law would normally have to pay us citizens back if they were properly BONDED as Statutory law states!
            But no Dunleavy fails to honor his oath ART. III SEC. 16 to execute the law and not “according to a formula in statute ” but the original one created by better people then them including Ben Carpenter,,, the carpetbagger! Ok Suzanne was that better, I didn’t mess with the Big ones Name!

        • Wow, what a slew of insults. Hope you feel better now. Can’t debate the facts so you resort to that I guess. A lot of empty words to say nothing.

      • This is a state with less than 1 million people. We should have more than enough funds to run this place, yet our “leaders” down in Juneau waste time and more importantly lots of funds on idiotic stuff like “the Psychedelic Task Force” or paying themselves (like Lyman Hoffman). Then there are 54 school districts each with their own administrative structure using up valuable education dollars that will never see the classroom(our dismal results speak for themselves)…..I could go on and on

        The state should only have its portion of the PFD to allocate and shift the focus back to essential services, like law enforcement, infrastructure/transportation and education.

        The PFD is a contractual obligation of the state to the residents of this state and needs to be fulfilled per the original agreement. It is considerably more difficult to claw back funds in taxes and more hazardous to political careers. Taking the people’s portion outright avoids that hazard and funds all the pet project to boot.

        Then there is the other issue nobody talks about. Receiving a large PFD will allow people to get off the government dole. If a family of 4 has an extra $10,000-$15000 a year to pay bills, send the kids to a school of their choosing and no longer have to rely on food stamps etc., it opens up opportunities. As a state our expenditures for welfare would decline, freeing more funds for stuff like education, developing resources and building roads….It would however also mean that the perpetual dependent class will shrink, an unpalatable aspect for some politicians, who rely on the “victimhood” mentality to maintain their position.

  3. Wonderful intent, however, I fear it will flame out and down. Too much greed within the spending crowed with dedicated souls desiring to milk every available dollar. Watch, the reasoning offered will astound you.

  4. Let’s see if our representatives really represent the people!? They have been so busy stealing from the people, I have my doubts! Not to name any names, but Governor Walker was absolutely the worst governor we ever had! Look what he did to the Valley people pulled the funding for the KGB project, what a jerk!

  5. Is the plan a full PFD and then force an income tax or a full PFD and force a reduction in state government? It’s got to be one or the other and the smart money, given the proven inability of politicians to do the right thing, is on the state trying to bless us with an income tax.

  6. LOL The Legislature can ignore their own resolution even easier than ignoring their own statute.
    Buffoonery – shear buffoonery…

  7. I’m not sure that the PFD should be enshrined in the State Constitution, but I am sure that it should be debated on the floor of the legislature and that the statute in place should be followed until and unless the statute is replaced.

    I’m glad to see that we have legislators who are willing to lead on this issue and as a reminder Representative Carpenter is running for State Senate to replace Senator Bjorkman who caucuses with Democrats. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Representative Carpenter one day run for Governor, he seems like he’d be a great State Senator and Governor if he so desired.

  8. A constitution is a nation’s conscience. The process due is not by writing a new statute. The process due is “assembling constitutional representatives”. They are not necessarily current statute writers. a constitution is not redraftable. Our Alaska Constitution formalized the formation of the new state. Are you making a new state? Formally redividing the state? It is that serious when you “constitutionalize”. When elected re presenters meet in the idyll of Juneau they write corporation bylaws. That is all they are empowered to do. They could where black robes I guess to symbolize their lofty lordlike intentions this time but it would be improper process and a misimpression to fool the public that they broke the Constitution by department store process and they mean it this time. Why not belatedly follow the bylaws written already for them to obey and repent from previous misjudgment in understanding what they are obliged to do with property interests of the people of Alaska? Be more careful.

  9. Maybe a better idea than an annual dividend would be a constitutional amendment that forces the state government to operate only on funds directly derived from the Permanent fund….End all state taxes and fee’s. No fuel tax no hunting license fee’s no DMV fees no business tax…no professional licensing fees no raw fish tax…no tax on studded tires…

    • erak, it isn’t the government paying you, but the PF Corporation.
      In times before Walker put his fat little fingers on it, the state was simply a convenient pass-through. An entity which received some of the funds and had the ability to easily passed the people’s share on to all eligible Alaskans. Maybe the people should sue and demand that all applications are made and managed directly by the PF Corporation and for them to send dividend distributions like any other corporate entity directly to each Alaskan and only their share to the legislature.

  10. Alaskans keep sending legislators to Juneau who want to spend every dollar and then some, and no matter the governor at the time, and no matter the commissioner at the time, a number of state departments also want all spending to be in the operating budget. The PFD instead gives spending autonomy to every Alaskan. At least so far, expecting these people sent to Juneau to take spending away from themselves has been a very silly choice to make.

    Importantly, no matter who is the AG at the time the Department of Law doesn’t like the PFD. The AAGs sent by the governor over each of the last several years to defend the PFD have done the weakest possible job at that. One has to assume the governor wasn’t paying attention, but no one really knows.

    The public employee unions work against the PFD. Trade union lobbyist sort of straddle that fence. In any event the PFD has no lobbyist but every city government sends their lobbyist to Juneau to diminish the PFD as much as possible.

    Most of the Alaska media, especially the outside money groups like Public Broadcasting, the Alaska Beacon, etc., favor the operating budget over the PFD. By the way, in the last few years the once bright line between the operating budget and the capital budget has become so tattered that it’s meaningless; no difference now.

    Representative Carpenter is right. However, it’s also true that the IRS is the largest single PFD recipient; so the PFD is terrible economic policy (sending so much money outside the state every year). There is a real chance that state government could change that but doing so would further entrench the PFD, which most legislators and at least some state departments don’t want.

    If people want this change, or changes that would lead to it, they had better work hard to elect legislators who commit to making it happen. Campaigning will be underway at the end of the legislative session.

    • K2 The IRS can’t be factored in as stated because you have no data due to privacy rights ! Are you an insider with that data ? Is Ben the Shell Gameman, the inside man,no ! So stop the guessing game with us Alaskans any way you look at it WE THE PEOPLE can spend that money better than Government, period. Prove us wrong!!!!!!

  11. PFD Stretegy: Negotiate, Leverage and Give-It-Away to the Politicians … Just remember to get something of significance in return!!!

  12. It would indeed be refreshing for the legislature, and the governor, to follow the law, and to not castigate us for demanding that they do so. The PFD was never supposed be at the will of the “lawmakers”, lawbreakers, but was supposed to be handed out untouched by dishonest and greedy hands.

    • IC Rhoades yes,” refreshing ” would be a kind word & I for one would enjoy & welcome that action, knowing that the less fortunate would be blessed as my Dad would say!

  13. I think that they messed up on determining who gets the PFD too loosely when it first started cheating a lot of Alaskans both indigenous and native to this state. Immigrants should NOT be getting any amount no matter how long they been here.

  14. If I remember correctly, Govenor Hammond designed the program to allow elderly Alaskans (especially natives) to continue their lifestyle, so the amount was based on how long a person lived in the state. The Zobels sued and the courts ruled everyone got the same amount, no matter how long they had lived in the state.

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