Bipartisan group of legislators push for statutory PFD - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
HomePoliticsBipartisan group of legislators push for statutory PFD

Bipartisan group of legislators push for statutory PFD

PRESSURE ON GOVERNOR TO VETO THE $1,600 DIVIDEND

A bipartisan group of legislators has written a letter to Gov. Michael Dunleavy, expressing their continued support of a full, statutory Permanent Fund Dividend.

Signers include Senators Mia Costello, Peter Micciche,  Mike Shower, Shelley Hughes, Lora Reinbold, and Bill Wielechowski, Representatives Sarah Vance, Ben Carpenter, Sharon Jackson, Gabrielle LeDoux, Laddie Shaw, Dave Talerico, and Chris Tuck.

“We are writing to express our continued support of paying Alaskans their 2019 Permanent Fund Dividends according to the full statutory formula. As you are aware, the legislature has passed House Bill 2001. This bill provided full funding for dividends to be paid according to the statutory formula when it came to the Senate floor. However, the version that eventually passed included a funding level that had been reduced by almost half,” the letter states.

“The amount of each year’s dividend is set in statute by a formula that has been in place and remained the same since the distribution of the very first dividends. Alaskans are fully justified in expecting their dividends to be distributed based on this traditional formula. Similarly, they are justified in feeling angry and shortchanged by the legislature’s unilateral decision to not pay the full amount owed to Alaskans,” the letter says.

The letter contains signatures from from members of all four legislative caucuses: the Alaska House Majority, the Alaska House Republican Minority, the Alaska Senate Majority,  and Alaska Senate Democrat Minority.

“The Permanent Fund Dividend is part of what connects all Alaskans, and every Alaskan should have a voice in its future,” said Sen. Mia Costello. “I believe we need to hear from the public before any changes to the statute are made. Until the public has an opportunity to weigh in, we need to follow the statute already on the books when it comes to paying out the dividend.”

“The legislature and the public spent years debating what to do with the earnings of the Permanent Fund before creating the Dividend program in 1982. It was meant to give every Alaskan a direct, equal ownership benefit in our oil wealth and provide an automatic spending cap to protect the Fund,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski. “It’s one of the most successful and popular programs in Alaskan and American history. Hundreds of thousands of Alaskans rely on the PFD, as do many Alaskan businesses – and they deserve to have the consistency and stability of a statute that lawmakers follow. Under the Constitution, the legislature can change the PFD statute, but until they do, the existing formula should respectfully be followed.”

The governor will sign the Operating Budget in coming days and must decide whether to accept the $1,600 Permanent Fund dividend set by the Legislature, or veto it and call for a $3,000 dividend through another special session.

Donations Welcome

Share

Written by

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

  • The legislature didn’t do their job reducing the insane spending. Roll back the state workforce and spending to 2005 levels. Eliminate programs we don’t need and fix the statutes requiring state funding instead of local property taxes for programs we do need. We’ll be just fine and it’ll still be the highest state spending per capita in the USA. Funding bloated government with Alaskans pfd is an unfair tax that disproportionately affects poor people. This must be stopped. I’m glad at least a few of them are talking sense.

    • It sounds like some are hearing us finally. Are you listening Bryce???

    • The people in the legislature that want to cut our pfd’s again are just wanting to pad there pocket books. They tried to make it seem like UAF took a major cut but they didn’t all they lost was the extra that they wanted this year in the end after everything they are still receiving as much as they did last year which is bullshit. UAf should be cut by atleast half because they don’t need that much they are just greedy bastards who don’t know how to budget. They always come ahead of everyone else. When Ryan middle school was supposed to get a new roof for there gym because there was major leaks, UAf was building there expansion on the museum and over spent so they ran out of funds before project was complete so they whined and all the money for the new roof never made it to Ryan middle school instead it went to there way over budget expansion of the museum. The other problem is the pfd was never supposed to be touched by state government. But yet they have there greedy fingers clawing at the money which we the people just let happen. Well now we need to stand up and get back what is rightfully ours for living in this expensive cold ass state.

  • I still like the idea of constitutional amendment voted on by the people of how the majority want to see the PFD handled if the formula is going to be tampered with or ignored

    • Great idea.
      Put the PFD formula into the Alaska Constitution.

  • Thank you to those who signed the letter and to some I understand who wanted to sign but we’re unavailable to sign.

    My family lives below the poverty level and we do not accept food stamps or heating subsidies. My husband is disabled ect. He does get health care.

    I, and my family do not want the governor to accept any PFD that is not formulated to determine the amount by the time-aged historical math! That formula IS mathematically sustainable, just, and honorable.

    Poor persons and families such as those who have earthquake damage, or medical surprises, or have dreams of catching up from challenges that keep them from from basic needs truly are entitled to the respect from elected person not to have to beg or plead for the correct amount.

    Walker did not respect the average Alaskan, nor did the legislation in the past year.

    Governor Dunleavy, please respect the PFD, and the citizens of ALASKA. Veto the PFD as presented to you …It would be a mistake that current and future generations would be impacted by. Stand, Mike. Those on the lower-income levels especially need you to stand tall.

    Ethan claims to help them but he is using them as props to grow goverment. Stand for the PFD. It would help many who are homeless and need leg up to reach up to solve their own issues with dignity.

  • Looks like some got an earful from their constituents after finally getting out of Juneau.

    • The signers of this letter are all long-standing supporters of the PFD.

  • Please veto the pfd bill

    • Veto the appropriation and then what?
      Older Than Alaska got this right.
      The Governor should not veto but instead bring the legislature back into a new special session to adopt a constitutional resolution re: PFD that will go before the voters and also top up this years shortened PFD.

  • What comes next? Is half a loaf of bread better than no bread at all? Or does the Guv dig in his heels and veto the half loaf? Either way those who want to grab your PFD win.

  • BRAVO!

  • To those with Honor & Commitment I salute you all . Stay united & brave the people of Alaska deserve that. Trust is on your side & history your guide. God bless you all ! Alaskans be proud of these few of good character we should commend them. .

leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.