Anna MacKinnon appointed director of Permanent Fund Dividend Division - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Anna MacKinnon appointed director of Permanent Fund Dividend Division

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Former Sen. Anna MacKinnon has been named the director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Division, the agency in charge of determining who is qualified to receive the annual dividend that is paid to Alaska residents from investment earnings of mineral royalties.

MacKinnon had been serving in the Department of Revenue in a special assistant position appointed by the governor. During her time in the Senate, she had served as co-chair of Senate Finance. She also served in the House for several years. Formerly of Eagle River, she now lives in Juneau with her husband, John MacKinnon, who is the commissioner of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The annual dividend payment allows for Alaskans to share in a portion of the State minerals revenue in the form of a dividend to benefit current and future generations.  Eligibility to receive a Permanent Fund Dividend is defined by the Alaska Legislature through statute and regulation. 

The statutory dividend calculation is based on the number of eligible Alaskan applicants in a dividend year and half of the statutory net income averaged over the five most recent fiscal years. The available funds are also reduced by prior-year dividend obligations, PFD operation expenses, and other state agency program appropriations. But the Legislature has broken the law for several years and arrived at an arbitrary number. So far, this year, that number is zero, because the Legislature approved $525 and the governor vetoed that amount, calling it an insult to Alaskans.  

The division is completely separate from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, which is responsible for investment of the fund’s principal balance.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Good choice. Anna will do an excellent job protecting the dividend. Smart lady.

    • There is no reason to think MacKinnon will have much or anything to do with “protecting the dividend.” Her job as division director is to administer the dividend program, not protect the dividend. As a director, she is in a potion to thoughtfully and faithfully administer the program. Administering the PFD program is not easy given the conflicting viewpoints and sentiments expressed by the Governor and the Legislature in regard to the formula for the dividend after the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in the Wielechowski case. This was the lawsuit where Bill Wielechowski, Clem Tillion and Rick Halford were trying to uphold the existing PFD statutory formula after Governor Walker vetoed the PFD appropriation according to the statute. Ever since the court ruled that the PFD is subject to an annual appropriation, the dividend has become a political hot potato and subject to partisan intrigue and political machinations. None of this has gotten better under Governor Dunleavy’s watch. There is plenty of blame to go around why a PFD formula hasn’t been advanced by a legislative resolution so that the citizens of Alaska can vote whether or not to put a PFD formula in the constitution and remove the issue from the annual governmental funding process. MacKinnon can’t end the stalemate in the Legislature over the PFD but she can do the best job possible to administer the PFD program efficiently and I wish her the best of luck.

  • “Eligibility” for the PFD is not the driver of this endless controversy, as Eligibility can be legally ascertained.
    .
    The drivers are: control of dispersement and amount to be dispersed. Elected politicians want control. They face the opposition of the electorate, who demand accountability of those elected and an adherance to legally founded dispersement principles.
    .
    The positions of the elected politicians must be fully articulated as to amounts dispersed. Anything less will not satisfy the electorate, who have already chosen sides based on their political philosophy, economic theory, or, their personal financial positions.

  • Is former senator Anna MacKinnon democrat or republican

  • Maybe she can establish a legacy by standing up an effective fraud detection and prevention unit in the Permanent Fund Division. It was bad enough that everybody and his dog could apply for thousands of dollars in State funds without the slightest verification of their residency or even of their existence. Generally, PFD has relied on people getting ratted off for cheating and then they and Law would make a lot of smoke and noise about prosecuting someone from time to time.

    It is far worse now that in addition to sticking your paws in the Treasury, you can also fraudulently vote by applying for a Dividend. We don’t know and seemingly don’t care who these people claiming checks and casting votes are, or even if they actually exist.

  • Here is an idea. Stop collecting the PFD and you will never again be manipulated by it.

    Get it by your own hands.

  • Former Senator MacKinnon (Giessel’s mentor) was co-chair of Sen Finance for years and as such helped bloat the state’s budget. Guess she is spiking her state retirement now. Where is her accountability for bloating the state budget?

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