Budget passes House with $1,300 PFD and $1,300 energy relief payment for Alaskans for $2,600 combined check

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After a long day of debate of dozens of contentious amendments, the Alaska House voted 25-14 in favor of a $7.7 billion state operating budget on Saturday.

The spending plan for state programs is $1.5 billion more than the budget Gov. Mike Dunleavy had introduced in December. The budget includes $2,600 for Alaska residents, characterized by House leaders as partly Permanent Fund dividend of $1,300 and partly energy relief payment of $1,300 — both would be paid as one payment that is still smaller than the statutory dividend would be.

The operating budget now goes to the Senate, where it may be added to or trimmed. The Senate has been working on the capital budget, which may be transmitted to the House for its consideration on Monday.

The vote to enact the effective date clause on the operating budget failed, needing two-thirds of the House to agree. The liberal majority agreed to the effective date clause but even with a few Republican votes added in, it fell short. A similar situation developed last year, with the House not adopting an effective date clause and the media spun up a lot of froth around government shutdowns that never occurred.

The House did not vote in favor of the reversing of the automatic sweep of unspent monies from the various state coffers into the Constitutional Budget Reserve. The conservative minority in the House has been holding back on the “reverse sweep” to use as a bargaining chip, it being the only item they have to hold spending down or to get full Permanent Fund dividends paid to Alaskans.

Wasilla-Chugiak Minority Leader Cathy Tilton said the budget took the money due to Alaskans and funded the anticipated education budget for the following fiscal year. She criticized the majority for once again pulling a number out of a hat for the PFD, rather than following statute.

If the statute was followed by the Legislature, this year’s dividend would be about $4,200.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed in his budget a $2,600 Permanent Fund dividend, and a partial back payment for dividends that are owed to the people of $1,250 to each qualified Alaskan.

The Legislature has not followed statute on the formula for the Permanent Fund dividend since Gov. Bill Walker broke faith with the people of Alaska by arbitrarily cutting their dividends in half in 2016, saying that it was needed for government programs. Instead of using it for programs, however, it sat in the Earnings Reserve Account of the Permanent Fund. That fund, which now has over $16 billion, has been used since Senate Bill 26 was passed in 2018; SB 26 uses a formula to take funds from the Earnings Reserve Account and use it for government, to make up for diminishing oil revenues.

Those Walker actions opened the door for the Legislature to take half of the statutory PFD every year since 2016, under legislative leadership that prefers government spending over following Alaska Statute or having the legislative courage to change the statute that sets the formula.

The Legislature gaveled in 81 days ago. By statute, it is supposed to only meet 90 days, but has not followed that statute for many years. Instead, it stays in session the full 120 days allowed by the Alaska Constitution, and then almost always extends another 30 days or longer in special sessions. This year’s legislative calendar is shaping up to follow recent practice.

Last year, the Legislature was in session from Jan. 19 – May 19 , May 20 – June 18, June 23 – June 28, Aug. 16 – Sept. 14, and Oct. 4 – Nov. 2, for a total of 214 days, or 58 percent of the calendar year.

43 COMMENTS

  1. The Legislature should meet at a minimum of 120 days. That 90 day figure was reached when Alaskan oil was selling for $130 per bbl and balancing the budget was an easy affair. Everyone got what they wanted so it ended quickly. We are in much different times now and important matters cannot be rushed. If we could just fill our pipeline again we could have the full PFD but a certain senile old man put a stop to that.

  2. I find myself rather irritated with the fact that everyone (meaning all our representatives in political positions of power) seems ok with big government spending here in Alaska, to the point that they illegally help themselves to the PFD fund that is meant for residents. (Has the taking of the residents PFD’s for the last six years helped the sate to get out of debt? Helped with anything? All I see is more waste, but with more of MY money….) So while they rape us with property tax increases, they also find a way to take from us on the other end. Alaska is a harsh opponent for living- extreme weather, high cost of living, being cut off from the lower 48, not able to travel through Canada during COVID, and run by governors and senators that run on a party platform that is clearly the opposite of their liberal politics… the state is spiraling… so sad, not what it used to be… I don’t see this changing for the better anytime soon.

    • It is not just the financials. It is adhering to the rule of law and ultimately can we trust our government to do the right and legal thing. What has been done to bolster election integrity?

    • I concur with you, FIER, in every sad detail here.
      .
      From the moment that I moved to Alaska over a quarter of a century ago, I have been dumbfounded and depressed by Alaskan’s love of big government, and their general disdain for individual self-autonomy, which is now a raging plague in Anchorage and Juneau.
      .
      Let’s at least hope that Eaglexit wins the day, and you and I can be rid of the radical leftist cesspool that Anchorage is and continues to devolve into.

    • I agree. Their bureaucratic BS has not helped AT ALL. The cost of living has shot up so much! The PFD was meant to help combat that. Some of us old people who don’t make a huge income and have to buy a new heater to keep warm this winter won’t see that “dream” come true.

  3. We’re drowning in money, but too broke to honor the law.

    Alaska is broken beyond repair

  4. Dunleavy apologists keep saying there’s nothing he can do. BS.

    He can veto the whole damn budget. Every freaking cent of it. Tell them he’ll do it time and again until they pass a statutory PFD.

    Once Laddie Shaw’s precious “28 year old state workers” start feeling the pain the legislature will suddenly learn to cooperate.

    But to take a bold stand requires courage, conviction, and big boy pants. None of which Dunleavy has.

    At this point I’ll vote for one of the homeless on 5th street before Dunleavy.

  5. If the state government doesn’t follow the law (statute), what laws do we get to randomly adhere to?
    Either follow the law and enforce it, which is my choice. Or change the law. Those are the only two legal options.

  6. The reverse sweep defeats the purpose of the constitutional budget reserve fund. Kudos for not passing withdrawal. In the past, appropriations from that fund always increased the budget as budget money was exchanged for votes to use the fund. Save that fund for emergencies down the road, not for annual tapping to cover the costs associated with a lack of budgeting priorities. The word “No” needs be used in budget discussions.

  7. It’s a start, but still not at the statutory level. Follow the law, legislators. Campaign season starts soon. My votes go to the law followers, not the law breakers.

  8. Worse than usual…. Should have been $4200 so since Walker would have been $2100 then add the $1300 Fuel Aid that would have made it $3400, not what it should have been but this $2600 is a travesty!

    • Walker truly screwed all Alaskans for his OWN PERSONAL USE OF THAT MONEY!! Walker lied greed is out of CONTROL. THANKS TO WALKER we will never be paid fairly. GREED & LIES = GOVERNMENT. We will always get the lies

  9. I believe it also removed a $550k payment to relieve Dunleavy of his responsibility in the firing of those API psychologists that the court found him responsible for. No reason the taxpayers in AK need to cover for his lack of responsibility IMO.

  10. This is our Legislature saying to us..”OK, OK, we were only going to give you about 30% of your PFD but because we are so cool and understanding we will THIS ONE TIME go ahead and bump it up to about 60% of your PFD because, you know, gas prices and stuff. But not next year…we really need to keep that money and spend it for you.”

    “Wait, you want a FULL PFD? Well obviously your just greedy and entitled.” Queue Sen. Von Imhoff speach……

  11. Okay, so the elites in Juneau think you’re worth $1,300 bucks this year. Next year maybe they will think your worth more or less? Bottom line is, the PFD belongs to the Alaskan people and they should get their paws off of it. And here is another novel idea, tell the Federal Government to pound sand and start developing Alaska’s abundant energy reserves. Oil, Natural Gas and rare earth minerals. Tell Governor do nothing, I mean Dunleavy to sign an executive order rescinding all land agreements with the Federal Government and asserting the State’s right over its lands. The Federal Government has stopped representing the citizens of this nation and are directly violating Federal Laws on so many levels. There is a blatant attack on the Constitution and this nations history. We need a Governor that will lead and not cower to special interests. Chris Kurka will be that Governor if the people of Alaska will get behind him.

    • The problem with uneducated passion is more phony candidates being elected. The government doesn’t choose when or where to drill, the government can’t choose to produce more oil… companies choose. Right now there are hundreds of approved drill sites around the nation waiting to be pumped BUT THE COMPANIES CHOOSE NOT TO DRILL THEM. Stop acting like the government has a say in the matter. They don’t. Go protest one of the oil producers if you want more production.

      People who want small government don’t even know what power their government uses, that’s a recipe for disaster…….. ignorance will destroy everything.

      • Critical thinking is not an attribute of the far right. As evidence, read the posts by Jefferson who sometimes infects these comments.

        • AZ, the flak that I get from the likes of you and the other radical leftist authoritarian extremists tells me that I am over the target. Carry on.

  12. We should be grateful our benevolent overlords have graciously gifted with a larger than a grand PFD. Again, a random number pulled from their collective fat asses.

    This budget is $1,500,000,000 (1.5 BILLION) over what the governor asked for? That’s OUR money, folks.

  13. Go to the home page of the Permanent Fund Corps website http://www.apfc.org and click on “performance” then scroll down a lil bit… look at that beautiful chart showing that bar on the right hand side towering head and shoulders over all previous years…

    If we paid back the statutory PFDs all the way back to the first Walker steal, you would have to clip a bit off the top of that tallest bar….but we would still have more money in the Fund than ever before!! Even if we spend $12B to payout catch up dividends we still have a record amount of cash!!

    Don’t let ‘em tell you “we don’t have the money to pay a full statutory PFD” because it’s just not true. Go look at that chart. They just want to keep and spend your money.

    • Ernie, the next stock market crash, which is imminent, will take care of that outsized (and largely fictitious) Permanent Fund balance. A year from now, that balance could well be less than half of it is today.

  14. Ah, nothing like an election year for a little, albeit incomplete, action. I kind of like Dunleavy but, like Bronson, he must deal with the rest of the bums we continue to force him to work with–or get run over by them anyhow. I cannot imagine having somebody like Walker holding his office in the middle of a Scamdemic. At least Dunleavy mostly resisted victimizing us with that game. Tall Mike should have let the government shut down for his entire term until the legislature fully funded the PFD. He ran his entire campaign on the premise of full PFD payout. I understand he cannot appropriate funds. However, since he took a very difficult position to enforce, he should have shut it all down indefinitely. But like Walker’s gas line, it was all a pipe dream. I’m at the point where I say let go of the PFD. The bums will spend through it in less than 10 years. In the meantime, enough freeloaders might leave to right the electoral ship . . . probably not . . . the ones getting direct handouts can’t be bothered to vote and the ones feasting on us in unions get incentives to tow their mob bosses line. O well, at least we can delay taxation (without representation? Sure seems like it) for a little while longer. For now, I say keep Dunleavy in place to shield us against the next round of totalitarian panic. I get that Kurka and Pierce provide possible alternatives. That being said, I advise the anti-Dunleavy conservatives to rank him ahead of Walker and Gara. Otherwise, we just might get to see how shifty Bill sells out both us and our liberty to the propaganda machine.

    • I had to miss my sister’s wedding in 2020 because of Dunleavy’s illegal “border controls” and quarantine requirements. As I told the campaign worker who called me the other day, I will never forgive him for that.

      • Dunleavy has been a democrat through and through when it comes to the China Virus (Kung Flu). He still refuses to issue a formal executive order banning mandates. Lora Reinbold had him pegged as an authoritarian RINO for months

  15. The article notes that both payments combined would be less than what the statutory dividend would be…but it will likely be enough to mollify voters, and the legislature knows this. Voters no longer hold politicians accountable- to their promises, or to the law. Unfortunately. Interesting how these energy rebates keep happening in election years.

  16. Let’s all get our big girl panties on and call for that Constitutional Convention.
    The ladies in the legislature aren’t going to do it for us.

    • No to that. If we allow the dominion systems to choose our delegates, pretty soon our constitution will be looking like the communist manifesto

  17. Get rid of all of the corrupt thieves in Juneau! Only way to do this is get rid of the corrupt voting systems and then We the People can maybe elect ethical politicians. Mockingbird mainstream media must be kicked to the curb. Woke corporations like Disney, Carhardt, etc. should be boycotted. We must also dissolve the way Alaska judges are appointed. State budget should be for essential services ONLY! Stop the social projects and big government overreach! Increase in crime is not caused by law abiding citizens and law abiding gun owners but by a corrupt judicial system that doesn’t punish criminals, and actually offers incentives to keep committing crimes. Politicians are the biggest criminals and hopefully the day of reckoning is finally here!

  18. All you Palin fans who want a full statutory PFD, should remember that it was CCP candidate Bill Walker who started the entire PFD stealing mess, and that it was your favorite girl, Sarah Palin who threw all her support behind him, and did her best to get him elected to the governorship…..and it worked.

    Bill Walker got elected governor, and promptly set about successfully stealing your PFDs, and the residents of Alaska have never got their full statutory PFD since then.

  19. Hey totally spaced to fill out my PFD this year and was wondering if I still qualify for the energy relief check and how that works. Thank you

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