Breaking: Dunleavy brings coalition of legislators to get a PFD vote to the people - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, June 17, 2021
HomePoliticsBreaking: Dunleavy brings coalition of legislators to get a PFD vote to the people

Breaking: Dunleavy brings coalition of legislators to get a PFD vote to the people

Putting the Permanent Fund dividend into the Alaska Constitution would end the yearly legislative battle over Alaskans’ share of oil royalties. It’s been a tough fight every year, causing deep divisions in the Legislature over competing visions for Alaska’s future.

But now, a broad group of lawmakers and the governor have a path forward.

Committee Substitute to Senate Joint Resolution 6 is a solution that will be introduced in Senate Judiciary today. It has support from a group that includes many Republican senators, and Democrat Sen. Lyman Hoffman. In the House, Rep. Louise Stutes supports the plan, along with many of the Republican representatives.

Dunleavy proposed a few revisions to strengthen the Permanent Fund constitutional amendment (SJR 6) that builds a sustainable fiscal future for all Alaskans and guarantees an annual dividend to all Alaskans now and in the future.

If passed by the Alaska Legislature, Alaskans will be able to vote on the most significant policy decision since the establishment of the Permanent Fund. The constitutional amendment would be on the Nov. 2022 general election ballot.

Today’s action:

  • Guarantees a PFD for every eligible Alaskan now and for future generations
  • Creates a fair and sustainable 50/50 split of Permanent Fund earnings between PFDs and core state services
  • Shields the $1 billion power cost equalization endowment from politicians by depositing it in the fund’s corpus
  • Protects future state budgets from significant deficits by transferring $3 billion from the Permanent Fund Earning Reserve Account to the Constitutional Budget Reserve

“My administration has put forth three constitutional amendments that aim to create an economically healthy future for Alaskans by removing the politicized uncertainty they face year after year. SJR 6, with a vote of the people, will protect the permanent fund well into the future,” said Dunleavy.

 “A number of legislators are supportive of this concept and we are positive the passage of SJR 6 will resolve the long standing dispute over the permanent fund and the PFD, and further protect the power cost equalization endowment within the permanent fund itself. A resolution to these long-standing issues will undoubtedly go a long way to putting Alaska on a strong fiscal foundation,” he said. Key to passage will be provisions that also protect the Power Cost Equalization fund, which helps rural Alaskans with their power bills, since they do not benefit from the major power projects that serve the Railbelt.

After years of spending down savings, state government is approaching a situation where the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve is exposed to spending by means of a simple majority vote, Dunleavy said.

The governor’s proposal will establish protections to prevent ad hoc spending from the Permanent Fund, allowing for continued growth.

The amended legislation will be introduced in today’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

Sen. Shelley Hughes said that once this piece of the puzzle is figured out, the state will then have to tackle revenues and a sustainable budget going forward. But this measure will give the Legislature time to do so over the next few years. Meanwhile, lawmakers will no longer spend months haggling over the size of the dividend.

Fourteen votes in the Senate and 27 votes in the House are needed to move the legislation through.

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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

  • It’s our PFD
    End of Story.

  • I am against the idea to put the PFD in the State Constitution. Ultimately, the financial pressures will force the State to “Tax and Dividend”.
    Starting to re-fund the CBR Fund is a good idea. Much more of the Dividend money should be sent to the CBR.
    I so hope it takes 2/3 of the Legislature to pass this because it is socialist and financially illiterate and should fail.

  • Why couldnt they do this in 2019. Two years of bickering they wasted too much time. Haha.

  • Maybe I’m wrong but it doesn’t sound like this scheme complies with the formula for calculating PFD payments. What’s wrong with people in elected office that they cannot honor their oath of office?

  • Is there a dress code for meetings like this and legislative proceedings? It looks like the men in this photo are all wearing professional suits and ties. But Mia Costello in the front row seems to be wearing her pajamas and looks like she is still half asleep. [Previously we saw Elvira Gray-Jackson wearing an outfit in the state senate chambers that would have been more suitable on a beach in Mexico.] What’s the deal? Don’t some legislators care about their appearances and setting a professional tone?

    • Well Joe, it’s apparent that you are able to cut through all the BS and get right to the meat of this issue. Heheh!

  • This shell game of raiding the Permanent Fund Earning Reserve Account (ERA) should not pass the red faced test. “….transferring $3 billion from the Permanent Fund Earning Reserve Account to the Constitutional Budget Reserve.” Do you seriously think that they will stop at 3 billion dollars? They could not even keep a balanced budget without depleting the Constitutional Budget Reserve and now they want to begin steps towards depleting the PF ERA? Give an inch now and they will take a mile later.

    The amount the people’s PFD shall be calculated is based on half of 21% of the fund’s realized earnings and interest over the past five years, minus expenses and previously owed dividends. Not a guaranteed set PFD amount since the stock market is never delivers a guaranteed rate of return. Stocks go up, stocks go down. It’s finally divided by the number of eligible Alaskans. End of story.

  • So they are willing to talk about ONLY stealing half of our PFD… in perpetuity. Fill the oil pipeline, cut the budget – not the PFD. Will SJR6 fix the problems in the legislature? Not on your life. Will it fix budgeting problems? Of course not – when they’ve spent all our money, they will try to spend more. Hey, it’s fun spending other people’s money – only trouble is it gets to be an insatiable, incurable, progressive, addiction. As our nation and our state fall into the hellhole of socialism, watch out for anything you own of value – they will take it. They will make us slaves and take away our cherished freedoms. The PFD is just a symptom.
    Don’t take the Mark.

  • CHRIS NYMAN, of course you’re against this. You’re a big government elite who believes in the almighty government controlling all the power, rights and of course money to distribute as they see fit to benefit their chosen groups. Others of us (and the Constitution) promote limited government and maximum liberty. Of course there are also many who get attached (for generations) to the government teat and want to never let go. But like a good, responsible parent we need to wean them from dependence to independence, self sufficiency and freedom. It may feel good as the paternalistic elite, but do you really want to see 40 year olds attached to their mothers that way? Is it healthy for the individual or society to foment perpetual dependence upon big government from cradle to grave? The PFD is essential to many and best controlled by the individuals to choose how to use it. And it is well past time to define which government ‘services’ are essential, which are frivolous, and most of all, which actually cause long term harm to people.

  • It still does not address the money still owed to every Alaskan that has been with held from us from past years. We are all shareholders in this state(Not welfare recipients) no matter your status or standing. It is because of the money with held from us that my property is in tax foreclosure here in the Mat-Su Borough .If the complainers over the money that is owed to every Alaskan is in question they do not have to accept it. It does not matter if you are native or a plant, It is that guarantee that gives all citizens their rightful amount of the pfd. If their is an issue then liquidate it and give me what stakes I have coming and is owed. If I lose my property because I have been denied my share I guess I will be hitch hiking to Juneau and become part of the homeless population there.

  • Great. I hope they will devise a way to pay us the back payment that is due for the years of theft by Bryce Edgeman.

  • Outstanding news. The PFD is not “unsustainable” when by formula it is 1/2 of the 5-year average of invested returns. We already have the money (returns) in the bank, it’s a matter of how to spend it. Half to the PFD and half to the state.

    If the state cannot live within its 1/2 then THAT is where the “unsustainable” adjective belongs.

    Now lets talk about a one-time “make it right” check for each of us who suffered PFD thievery from the last 3 Legislatures.

  • I agree this is terrible idea, “The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness PLUS free Gub’ment Cheese and guaranteed state-subsidized energy rates (for some parts of this great state)”

    Bonus: If you vote ‘Yes’ Right NOW, we’ll throw in another $3.0b into the CBR that can pissed away in the next 2 years!

    This plan will lead to the certainty of a PFD check the rest of your life; it it likely just as certain that a +$$ Billion deficits will continue and those of us with jobs will get to pay an income tax ($1.0 / 250,000 employed workers = $4,000 annual tax)

  • Politicians should get $0 from the PFD earnings. 100% for the people. If they threaten everyone with raising taxes, tar and feather them. They are useless parasites and who can’t even change a tire; why the hell are they in control of our lives and stealing all our money?

  • If the Democrats/RINOs from the 26th thru the 32nd Legislative Sessions are in agreement with Joint Resolution 6, it will not be good for Alaskans. Democrats/RINOs are in control of both the House and Senate for the 32nd Session!
    Look what’s going on in the Municipality of Anchorage Politics for the past 6 years and you will understand the reason for the statement “the way Anchorage goes is the way the State goes “. Remember, never let a Crises go to waste. Democrats/RINOs WIN Alaskans LOSE! Joint Resolution 6 benefits only the Democrats/RINOs, Alaskans Lose!

  • Not good for the Alaskans now and in the future…. Look at the politicians that have been at the helm of the budget in the last twenty years. Deeper and deeper in debt and screwed up thinking. Dunleavy falls into the trap that Stedman sets time after time. Dumb and Dumber!!!

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