Wednesday, September 27, 2023
HomePoliticsAs promised, Dunleavy proposes three constitutional amendments

As promised, Dunleavy proposes three constitutional amendments


This morning, Gov. Mike Dunleavy filed three constitutional amendment bills in the Alaska Senate. No companion legislation went to the House, which is in shutdown mode.

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The proposed amendments would prevent the government of Alaska from enacting or increasing taxes on Alaskans without a vote of the people, or change the statutory calculation of the Permanent Fund dividend without a vote of the people.

The third amendment would create a spending and savings rule to keep government from growing out of control.

“These amendments are the basis for a permanent fiscal plan,” he said. He told reporters in a briefing that he ran on the promise to fix the fiscal situation, and he’s doing what he promised. It’s time to bite the bullet, he said, and make Alaska a stable place to invest so that it can enjoy the prosperity of other states that have stable fiscal systems, such as Colorado and Washington states, both with red-hot economies. will delve into the details of these proposed amendments in the days ahead.

Dunleavy’s video announcement to Alaskans:

The Governor’s Office also provided these points:

Protect the PFD: Requires voter approval for any changes to the existing dividend program.

1)    Guarantee the PFD: PFD’s would not be subject to appropriations, they will be automatically transferred for payment to Alaskans.

2)    Protect the PFD: PFD’s cannot be reduced by the Legislature or Governor’s veto.

3)    The People’s PFD: Any changes to the statutory PFD formula will require a vote of the people. It’s Alaskans PFD and they should be entrusted with its future.

No New Taxes Without Input from Alaskans: This amendment will ensure that Alaskans are included when deciding the size and scope of their government.

1)    Any new tax or tax rate increase passed by the Legislature will require a vote of the people.

2)    Any new tax or tax rate increase passed by voter initiative will require approval by the Legislature.

Spending Cap: This amendment will provide an important mechanism for the people of Alaska to curb the growth of future government spending. It creates a straightforward, understandable, and most importantly – effective – limit on government growth.

  • Replaces the existing, ineffective constitutional spending limit with one that works.
  • The new limit will be calculated using a 3-year average of state spending, and only allowing for minimal increases.

Protect the PFD: Click here for bill text and transmittal letter.

Tax Limit: Click here for bill text and transmittal letter.

Spending Cap: Click here for bill text and transmittal letter.


Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. 3 constitutional amendments!
    Why not just re-write the entire Constitution?
    We do not need all this razzlemadazzle – our fiscal problem is easily solvable without them.
    It is the Dividend mass hysteria and Legislative cowardice that prevents a sane fiscal plan.

    The current Dividend program was born out of Alaska Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court Decisions (remember the Zobels?) It appears we will need a judgment from the courts again.

    • I am a stiff wind blowing all of you rudderless ships towards the shore.
      It’s what my parents taught me to do.
      And then the extra genetic predispositions kicked in.
      Dads family were refugees from Czechoslovakia even before the Soviet invasion in 1968. Things were not that good in 1898 either,
      Mom’s family came from Scotland. She had that Scottish fire.
      So that is why I have evolved to offer logical solutions and not ideological solutions.
      You are welcome….

    • Wow I am so impressed with our new governor Mike Dunleavy
      As I was reading the Must Read by Suzanne Downing, I was extremely happy and satisfied as governor Dunleavy‘s new initiatives of amending the Constitution to keep his campaign promise to give back to the people what was stolen from their PFD
      Great work governor Dunleavy!
      Finally, an honest governor who keeps his promise to the people of Alaska!

    • Was that asked of me? Answer: Very Simple
      A sane fiscal plan is as obvious as the sun rising every day. If you were the Owner of the State investment portfolio (The Owner-State) yourself, what would you do?
      You would stop bleeding cash on Dividends, Restore gradually the CBR, and find more efficiencies in running the government we all vote for.
      In the meantime, the annual appreciation of the PF and annual royalty oil income put us in the catbird seat.

    • Attention: All You Dividend Warriors!
      Are you not happy that we a zero individual State income tax or Sales Tax!
      Do you really want to go there?
      There is no individual right to a Dividend regardless of all the BS that has been peddled over the years.
      Exorbitant Dividends are unconstitutional and I guess I will see Dick Randolph in the Alaska Supreme Court over this issue.

      • If you dont like the larger dividend, Chris, simply turn your check back over to the General Fund. You and your friends who love taxes do not have to take the dividend. It’s not mandatory. But please, quite insisting that all Alaskans have to adopt your big government schemes to confiscate wealth of the shareholders and inflate the state bureaucracy instead. Quit tying-up bandwidth here at MRA and write to Dick Randolph. His address is c/o State Farm, 11th Ave., Fairbanks. 99701.

        • Depends. Are you planning on sluicing and contaminating the waters? Can you afford the permitting processes? Are you sure you know how to mine? Are you going to poison the fish? Why don’t you go to the beaches on the coast and just look for coal instead? It burns so clean, you can use it instead of natural gas. Or, just go poach some firewood on state land and use that to warm your house. Steve, I doubt you would know what to do with your “mineral rights.”

          • So then no? Because you think the state knows what best to do with the mineral rights on my property or the money that they pay me instead of letting me keep the mineral rights on my property, I should just give up both because you say so?

          • Steve, I will step in here and try to address this, as I think there is some tongue and cheek comments going on. Your assumption that the PFD is in lieu of mineral rights is a fallacy. First, your private mineral rights are what you own at the time of purchase through a legal transaction in real estate, which may or may not include subsurface rights. Mineral rights granted through a patented claim are what you own at the time of the execution of the patent, subject to certain additional legal requirements. Your ability to “use” the mineral right is subject to your abilities in regulatory compliance, the capital needed to comply, and the money needed to produce in paying quantities. No one is telling you to give up your right in mineral claims, if in fact you own the subsurface right. I doubt seriously that the Dunleavy Administration is contemplating destroying or confiscating your private property, whether or not it includes subsurface mineral rights. The earlier comments by TED were directed more to those who do not believe Dunleavy should be putting higher numbers on the PFD. I don’t see how a larger dividend equates to having to “give up” your mineral rights to the state in return. If anything, Dunleavy would be in the corner of the property owner, encouraging the owner to exercise her right in mineral production. As for state ownership in mineral claims, those private entities that can produce the resource would still have to pay a significant royalty to the state, which in turn would be passed off in part to the state stakeholders in the form of a larger PFD.

        • Marla,

          Is Sylvestor not available to respond, why did you have to step in for him? Is Chris not available? I think perhaps you misunderstood who I was replying to, I was originally addressing Chris Nyman but apparently he is too busy to respond and then Sylvestor replied and now you.

          I simply asked Chris if we would get our mineral rights back when we turn over our PFD as he has proposed we do.

          As I’m sure you know mineral rights were granted to the state when we became a state, and this is where the “royalty” share comes from…the same share (well half of the share anyways) that makes up the seed money of the Permanent Fund and the dividend that comes out of the very same Permanent Fund.

          The reason my property may or may not have mineral rights is directly related to Statehood and later the Permanent Fund. If my property was patented before Statehood then I probably have mineral rights, afterwords probably not.

          The rest of your response must be towards somebody else because it has nothing to do with anything I said here.

  2. Straight out of the Dick Randolph play books from his 1978, 1980, 1982, 1986, and 1988 campaigns. Eat your hearts out, Liberals and Lefties.

  3. And Dunleavy will balance the budget by taking back 20 million from education in the middle of the school year. Money that districts have already budgeted for.

    • The 20 million reduction will be put on the urban school systems that have property taxes. If there is a shortfall, your tax bill will be raised.

      The irony is the State CONSTITUTION contains language that stipulates that funding of schools shall be a State responsibility. They only pay a portion of their mandated funding , spending untold millions on non-governmental.
      programs and hire-a -buddy boondoggles.

      When the constitutional charades are completed, Dunleavy can claim the public decided the issue, relieving him
      from his campaign promises. The real problem is they are fighting over money that is quickly disappearing. Someone needs to tell the entitled public that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    • State spending on education is somewhere north of $1,330,000,000.00 that’s 1.33 BILLION, or $1,310,000,000.00 after not providing the supplement. Not giving an additional $20,000,000.00 or roughly 1.5% isn’t going to destroy a system that is already at the bottom, who knows it might help…throwing money at the problem has already been proven not to help.

      • The problem is that we are trying to deliver education to some of the remotest place in Western Civilization. The price of that is going up every year. Teachers wages have been virtually stagnate for 30 years and there has been a perennial problem with recruitment and retention in that area as well. The buildings and utilities haven’t gotten any cheaper either.

        Distance learning programs? Home schooling? A Constitutional Amendment to address the education requirement that the State is bound to? Those might be solutions. Not paying the bill isn’t.

        • The problem is not delivering education to the remotest places in Western Civilization, the problem is HOW it is being delivered.

          • How is that? Do you think it’s cheap to staff and operate a school in Togiak or Mt. Village? Every single year the prices are going up. What does “how” have to do with that? It sounds as if you have a solution on mind.

            Cutting the budget until the State fails to maintain its Constitutionally mandated requirements will end in a losing lawsuit in my opinion.

            Both Dunleavey and Commissioner Johnson were Superintendents of Rural districts, they should be full of ideas.

            Johnson oversaw a steady march of decreasing enrollment, staff, and facilities during his tenure. His solution was boarding schools, but those have not been implemented.

            I’ve seen people demanding a rural tax of some sort to fund schools. Anyone have a property assessment for a HUD house? Maybe Cheerios need to be $25 a box in Kivilina?

            What do those politics look like?

          • I guess I missed the part where anyone is proposing to not maintain the constitutionally mandated requirements. It does seem like you have an understanding of the how, not sure why you would even ask what the “how” has to do with it. Too many school districts, too many administrators, too many schools, not enough students for all of the above.

            The land grant college system is bleeding the state dry, they need to do something with the lands they were given to fund the college system. Just imagine how many more administrators and schools and school districts we could have if just half of the money the state gives to the land grant college system went to K-12 instead!

  4. Well, as soon as the legislature decides who their speaker is, I am sure they will have no shortage of future items that they can disagree on.
    I cannot see a $1.6 billion dollar budget cut with $6,700.00 dividends on their “approval” list.
    As for no new taxes….well, that is not so simple.
    Colorado that was referenced in the story has an income tax of 4.63% regardless of your income bracket.
    Many studies show states with income taxes have a higher quality of living for its residents.
    With nearly 25 percent of the Alaskan workforce made up of “non residents “, an income tax would bring a nice chunk of money back to the state.
    Remember the trooper posts that were terminated under Walker and now property crime is through the roof in those areas?
    Without cutting the “tax credits” to big Oil or implementing an income tax, I am concerned none of the other problems we see across the state will be solved since we cannot “cut” more from services which are already receiving a failing grade from overseeing agencies and that starts to seem like quite a lot these days.

    • We’ve got a Crossfitter with rhabdomylisis here screaming “CUT THE FAT!!!”

      For example an OMB director who takes back $3 million from DPS because we have a crisis in recruitment and retention of qualified VPSOs. What a success story in budget cutting!

      Meanwhile, Dunleavey tries to hire a labor negotatior who goes out on social media stating that cops and firefighters are overpaid. But the administration is going to get tough on crime?

      Are police/troopers/VPSO’s going to start springing out of the ground like mushrooms? Without a care about where they will live, how they’ll get paid, how they’ll be taken care of when they’re health gets damaged or if they’ll have a pension when they’re done?

      Train wreck.

  5. I like the part where he says this is the “basis for a permanent fiscal plan”


    Literally the opposite of a plan

  6. This is in fact the foundation for a fiscal plan for the rest of the 21st Century. It slightly shifts the balance of power from the Legislature to the people, and the Legislature had it chance. It begins the necessary walk-back from the policies and state spending that have thus far prevented Alaska from participating in the huge economic expansion taking place in the rest of America. But Legislators will oppose this overtly and covertly. Every one of us must contact Legislators, and not only Legislators from our own district, or else this will fail. Remember, the Walker plan was to cut the PFD and implement taxes – every kind of tax imaginable, including stiffer oil taxes and a tax on all working Alaskans- and that plan received material support from the Legislature. The Dunleavy plan looks to put Alaska back to work in high-paying jobs, and this is the necessary first step to a sustainable state economy. I suspect the next step will be the first operating budget from the Dunleavy administration, due in two weeks. Many Legislators want to spend your money, and they want bigger and bigger state government. The Alaska economy has not survived that very well so far.

    • I appreciate the perspective, but have to disagree on a few points.

      All these amendments do is take things off that table. That is a far cry from a plan. It’s always been very popular to tell Alaskans that they don’t have to pay for government services and that they are entitled to particular dividend levels, but that does nothing to address the underlying problem. The exception to all this is the proposed spending cap. We spend too much money – period.

      I’m curious what policies and spending practices you see as having prevented Alaska from realizing some huge economic expansion? Every expert I have ever listened to on this top says exactly the opposite. Government spending has actually propped up this economy.

      I’d also be interested to hear how Dunleavy’s “plan” (if we can call it that) will put Alaskans back to work in high paying jobs. Happy to be told I’m wrong here, I just don’t understand where you’re getting that idea.

  7. “no big government! but can you give me more money?!” the entitlement felt among thousands of alaskans gives a whole new meaning to hypocrisy.

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