A bill that would allow Alaskans to contribute their Permanent Fund dividends to the state budget has been resurrected.
SB 92, sponsored by Sens. David Wilson of Wasilla, would have the Department of Revenue add a provision allowing Alaskans who receive dividends to contribute some or all of their dividends to the state, just as they do for nonprofit organizations through Pick, Click, Give.
Last year, the Senate passed a similar bill, SB 154, on a unanimous vote. It was referred to the House, where it died in committee.
This time, SB 92 has two other Senate sponsors: Scott Kawasaki and Elvi Gray-Jackson. Kawasaki has sponsored the similar bill on the House side last year after it passed the Senate.
“Many Alaskans have told me they wouldn’t mind giving up a portion of their dividends to pay for state government,” said Sen. Wilson. “This bill creates a simple mechanism for them to do so. If you want to donate your dividend, that’s your choice. If you want to keep your dividend, you’re free to do so. Senate Bill 92 is about the freedom to make your own decision.”
Participants could contribute $25, $50, $75, $100, or more, in increments of $50, up the total amount of their dividend.
PFD donations are subject to a 7 percent administrative fee paid to the Permanent Fund Dividend Division.
Currently, PFD applicants can donate directly to the state’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund, the Peace Officer and Firefighter Survivors’ Fund, or one or more of the educational organizations, community foundations, or charitable organizations that appear on the contribution list contained in the PFD application. This bill would add the state’s general fund to that list.
SB 92 was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Mike Shower of Wasilla applauded the bill:
“Based on the averages we’ve seen during testimony and then extrapolating with the well over 600,000 who qualify for a dividend, I’d expect about 150,000 people, or more, to take advantage of this opportunity. Using the statutory formula and a $3,000 dividend I would expect to see a $450 to $500 million bump into the general fund next year as everyone who says they prefer the dividend to go to the state honors their word,” he wrote.