Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked the Legislature to prioritize a fair Permanent Fund dividend amount, to place surplus revenues into State savings, and to take action on the People First Initiative bills introduced earlier this session.
“I ask the Legislature to pay every eligible resident a PFD this year of at least $3,700,” said Gov. Dunleavy during a press briefing. “We have this tremendous opportunity to provide a 50/50 PFD while having enough to place into savings. The more money in the hands of Alaskans, the better it will be for everyone. These are dire times for Alaskans who are paying at the pump while the government benefits from high oil prices. We need to be putting the money back in our constituents’ pockets.”
In March, Governor Dunleavy reported a projected $3.4 billion increase to the Spring 2022 Revenue Forecast over this year and the next. According to the Alaska Department of Revenue, the forecast is consistent, and the State is still projecting a multibillion-dollar surplus for 2022 and 2023.
In addition to the PFD, the administration’s priority is to rebuild savings with the surpluses in the range of $11 billion over 10 years, based on a conservative forecast of $70 plus per barrel to 2031.
According to estimates from Bloomberg Economics, the average American household can expect to pay an extra $5,200 this year – $433 per month – compared to last year due to inflation rising at a historic rate during the Biden Administration. The economic policies put in place by the Biden Administration are hitting low-income Alaskans the hardest, where they do not have a cushion of savings to protect them from rising prices.
“We have the resources we need to make this PFD happen, so we wait on the Legislature to make their decision. Rural Alaska is going to see, potentially, $17/gallon of oil in some places. Alaskans should benefit from the State’s resources,” he said.
Dunleavy said that he said the Permanent Fund dividend should be as close to the statutory amount as possible. He acknowledged that his attempt to bring the Permanent Fund dividend formula to a vote of the people of Alaska is not moving in the Legislature.
In this session, Governor Dunleavy has addressed sex trafficking, sex offenses and victim protection with Senate Bills 189, 187 and 188. The bills are part of his People First Initiative, which includes five major intersecting topics: Domestic violence and sexual assault, Missing & Murdered Indigenous Persons, human/sex trafficking, foster care and homelessness.