Fritz Pettyjohn: PFD rallies set for Tuesday across state

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By FRITZ PETTYJOHN

Your $3,268 dividend to be direct-deposited in your bank account next week, the largest in history, was a close-run thing. Since 2016, the size of the PFD has been an annual battle in the Legislature, and is the most divisive issue it faces. 

The key vote this year was in the State Senate, where it squeaked through on a  10-9 vote. This is no way to run a railroad. But legislative opponents of the PFD aren’t going away. They think they can spend  money more wisely, and for the greater good, than the people can. 

We simply can’t trust any Legislature with this responsibility. The dividend calculation needs to go in to the Alaska Constitution.

The group seeking to do that, by campaigning for Prop  1, “Convention YES,” is holding rallies across Alaska on Tuesday, Sept. 20, when the distribution of the dividends begins. Rallies will be held at 6 pm in Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kenai. For more info go to the ConventionYes website

These rallies are to thank and acknowledge those legislators who fought for the dividend. They’re also to recognize the legislative candidates who support Prop 1, which would allow the people to vote on preserving the dividend by putting it in the Alaska Constitution. Only then will Alaskans be assured of future dividends. The Legislature has demonstrated, repeatedly, that it can’t be trusted with this job.

Many thanks are also due to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who has fought for the dividend throughout his term. He’s indicated support for Prop 1, and is expected to attend the rally in Fairbanks.  He understands that the PFD needs to go into the Constitution. And he knows that can only happen at a Convention. That’s the political reality. 

Based on reporting in Must Read Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy appears poised for reelection, based largely on his unstinting advocacy on behalf of the PFD. The people, more than ever, want their share of Alaska’s oil wealth. Candidates supporting it have an edge all over the state.  If you support the dividend, you should support, and advocate for, Prop 1. This is especially true for Dunleavy. The dividend is Jay Hammond’s legacy.  Its protection, and perpetuation, in the Constitution, can be Dunleavy’s.

The opponents of Prop 1, lavishly funded by the outside dark money group the Sixteen-thirty Fund, claim to be defending the Constitution. This Sixteen-Thirty Fund is a front for George Soros and his fellow foreign billionaires, who oppose Prop 1 because it’s a mini-version, at the state level, of Article V of the United States Constitution. Soros wants nothing less than the downfall of the United States, and he doesn’t want the reforms possible under Article V. He’s afraid they’ll work, and strengthen this country. He’s afraid of an Alaskan convention, because it would succeed, and be a model for the whole country.

But Prop 1 is all about Alaska, the Permanent Fund dividend, and its future. What the opposition is really afraid of is the voice of the people — expressed in the vote for the Convention, the selection of delegates, and their final verdict on any amendment the Convention proposes. 

There are other issues that may be addressed at a convention, if it is called. The delegates, prominent and trusted citizens from across the state, will decide. They will debate, deliberate, and attempt to reach a consensus which can be ratified by a vote of the people. Those who are afraid of a convention are afraid they are in a political minority, and don’t want the voice of the people heard. If the people of this state are afraid of a convention, they’re afraid of themselves.

For 40 years Alaskans have been receiving annual dividends. Gov. Jay Hammond started the program when Alaska was in an economic boom. Money was flowing from Prudhoe Bay, and the entire railbelt was prospering as never before. But the rural areas, the bush, the people in the villages were largely left out. These were the people Hammond cared most deeply about, and he was determined that they get some small share of the bounty. They, and all Alaskans, deserve to continue to receive this benefit. Right now, it’s needed more than ever.  

This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, or conservative and liberal, or urban and rural. It’s about Alaskans and their families, struggling to get by in these difficult times. The $3,268 that every man, woman and child will receive transcends all political boundaries. It’s money that they want, and need. And it’s money a lot of special interests would rather have for themselves.

Proposition One is a referendum on a constitutional convention. The framers of Alaska’s Constitution were political progressives, heirs to the great political reformers who transformed American politics in the early 20th Century. They weren’t afraid of the people. They believed in empowering the people, because they trusted them. They wanted the people to have the chance, every 10 years, of proposing needed constitutional amendments that the Legislature refused to propose — amendments that would curtail the power of the legislature, or control its behavior.  

On Nov. 8 the question for Alaskans is, do they trust themselves?  If they do, Prop 1 will pass, a constitutional convention will be held, and the people of this state will then vote on whether they want the PFD to be there for generations yet unborn.

Fritz Pettyjohn is on the steering committee of ConventionYES, and served in the Alaska legislature in the 1980’s.

58 COMMENTS

  1. The State already gets their share.
    They waste it.
    And then, our share, well invested, and growing..
    It’s killing them.
    We must take the loss, so they won’t have to.
    And to thing ” Republican ” Bill Walker was the one that finally broke into the fund.
    I am thinking he is betting on Ranked Choice too.

  2. I am voting for it. I encourage all who read this to do the same.
    The legislature needs some check and balance and the convention is our only method to check and balance. Especially when untrustworthy candidates win their election.

  3. Alaska is a socialist free-market economy, which is great! Israel and Scandanavian nations operate this way. Let business owners set their own prices, let consumers make their own choices where to spend there money. As an Alaskan resident and homeowner, I am comfortable with voting for local and statewide candidates who are willing to accept federal dollars for massive infrastucture projects. We live in a republic, people who live in Kansas ans Mississippi and Connecticut are helpng to pay for the sweet new Parks highway paving, but they don’t get to vote on how Governor Dunleavy and the executive branch in Juneau gets to allocate state funding. If the PFD is larger than expected, then that is a good thing, bit it is also straight-up socialism. Makes me wonder why the super-rich people who appear on TV are against it? Paying dividends to the working class reduces the money that could be spent on lobbyists and political analysts. Every consultant opposing a larger PFD is advocating for more state money to be funneled towards their employer (lobbyist and their law firms), and not spent on Alaska. The PFD is truly not a conservative/liberal issue, its the rich trying to steal more than their share, and sadly, since so many poor people identify as socially conservative, tbey are willing to obey the instructions of rich people who urge them to “rank the red” instead. It doesn’t matter what your personal politics are, if you support corporations ahead of you and your families’ interest, you are selling out. Support a big PFD, support Alaskans in unions, support your families and vote with your wallet, not what either party tells you the bosses want!

    • Those “Scandinavian” countries get awfully upset when you call them “socialist”, just ask Bernie Sanders. Also, unions are nothing but Marxist money laundering operations.

  4. Moneygrubbing Alaskans. You’ll demand your precious PFDs even if they eviscerate the State. What an attitude of entitlement this whole thing has created. Cut, cut, cut government – oh – except for the PFD Division. Guns, Bibles, PFDs, and MAGA. That’s what Alaska is about now. Sickening.

    • You’re getting more and more shrill, which implies desperation.

      As I know you know, the PFD isn’t government money or a hand out. It’s our legal share of the wealth generated by Alaska resources. We are business partners with Alaska.

      If any other business did what Walker and the legislature did (withholding legally owed DIVIDENDS) they would be deep in the jail.

      But you know this already. You’re many things but not stupid. The issue, clearly, is you seem to feel we are property of the state and therefore our money belongs to the state. The state, in your worldview, is better suited to spend our money than we are.

      Greater good, and all that. As determined by you.

      Money is wonderful. I’d roll around in it if I could. I suspect you like money, too. The louder leftists complain about greed, the more money the want. Greed is only good when the state does it.

      I’m kinda sad for you that personal responsibility makes you unhappy. Personal control even more so. But you do you, boo.

      I’m gonna get my coin jar, pour it over my head, and bask in it.

      • “…..the PFD isn’t government money or a hand out…….”
        It is both. The Permanent Fund was created by taxes paid to The State of Alaska by the oil industry, and grown by balanced investment managed by a state board. The dividend is precisely a handout. It s unearned income given to all residents.
        This neat little exercise in socialism has been fun and educational (for those interested in learning something), but Norway has done much better with theirOil Fund in all ways than Alaska has.
        I think that’s because Alaskans are much more selfish, greedy, and wasteful.

      • You’ve probably invested exactly zero of your own dollars in the Alaskan hydrocarbon industry. You get the PFD because you were lucky enough to be born there, or you moved up. And don’t give me the BS about losing your mineral rights. So you can’t get Royalties from that oil well you were planning for your back yard? Sounds to me like an argument for restitution, due to some imagined injury in the distant past. Why, that almost sounds like something from the Left!

        And one more thing – the machine that generates the PFD cash is the cumulative result of decades of investment of capital and labor. Having directly invested in both for over 30 years, I believe I should still get a PFD, even though I am no longer able to live in the State. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

      • Yes I kind of agree except Alaska’s don’t have any skin in the game. You have an invested anything it was already here. Alaskan natives on the other hand have skin in the game it was stolen from them. If you want to be partner with somebody usually you invest something and they invest something and you both reap the rewards and benefits.

        • “……Alaskan natives on the other hand have skin in the game it was stolen from them…….”
          ANCSA was a requirement in Congress before TAPS was approved. Nothing was stolen, unless you have problems understanding the word “settlement”.
          (But I understand……everybody seems to have a problem accepting the meanings of words)

      • “The louder leftists complain about greed, the more money the want. Greed is only good when the state does it.”
        .
        Could not have said it better myself.
        Who is the greedy one:
        The person who wants to keep the fruits of their labor, or
        the person who is petitioning the government to take the fruits of another person’s labor for their own benefit.

    • Interesting how the State was able to get along just fine for decades while following the PFD formula to a T.
      Now, suddenly they cannot afford to operate without ignoring the PFD formula? Why?
      Costs have not gone up that much.
      .
      But… no. Instead of saying “Hey government, stop spending so much on crap that is not your business” you instead blame the taxpayers and citizens.
      .
      Typical leftist. Always things the all-powerful State is a wonderful thing.

  5. My understanding is that any proposed constitutional changes, including the PFD, would then be put to a statewide vote, giving us the ultimate say. No on 1 forgot to mention that part!

  6. Of the people by the people for the people. Thank you for your oath duties to the people. Suzanne your site let the peoples voice be heard this time. Must read Alaska and politicians of integrity. Thank you some of us absolutely need that money. Wake up Tuesday knowing you all did good for the citizens. WOW

  7. Again Prominent Past Legislated Leaders give 1/2 truths about the PFD! Its not $3268.00 this year its only $2650.00 that’s what Dunleavy wants it to be / stay as a Constitutional Amendment . It’s an amount based on the current POMV Statute not the old 1982 one we all know. Please STOP the lies People !

  8. “Since 2016, the size of the PFD has been an annual battle in the Legislature, and is the most divisive issue it faces.”

    There is not supposed to be any battles at all about the PFD.
    There is this thingy called the “statutory formula”, that calculates the amount of the PFD.
    And it was used every year to calculate the annual PFD, until CCP candidate Bill Walker, with Sarah Palin’s
    help, got elected governor, and then all hell broke loose as he and the communist judges who sided with him, went to war against the Permanent Fund, and it’s annual dividend.

    Now, the size of the government in Juneau grows ever larger, and the annual dividend grows ever smaller.

    • “Permanent” describes the Fund, not the Dividend. Chicken/Egg, except in this case (like all investments), the Fund came before the Dividend, it’s expected to remain last, and there’s no sane question about that.

  9. Just look at how many people cannot understand how rank choice voting works, they go absolutely crazy when you mention constitutional convention. These low information voters are the real threat to our republic. Most could not tell you who their representatives are. The left is totally organized through the public , private unions and the welfare system, they are completely obedient to their masters, while we freak out over someone’s last name. Some are waking up, but we will have to suffer much more, much longer. And to those who say calling your reps won’t help, well your just lazy, selfish and ignorant. Just how is that working out?

    • “Just look at how many people cannot understand how rank choice voting works, they go absolutely crazy when you mention constitutional convention……..”
      The mere supposed need of a ‘constitutional convention’ illustrates the basic problem:
      The lawyer/journalist/politician class can twist, mold, or just ignore the words of any ‘constitution’ you can draft into whatever they want it to mean. Obviously, they’ve just ignored the statutory oaw governing PFD calculation. You somehow think that a constitutional word is somehow so sacred that it can’t be violated? Hahahahaha!
      The one and only thing needed by every beating heart in Alaska is discipline, and if our elected, appointed, and employed servants don’t have any, then a disciplined electorate needs to instill some into them.
      But we don’t have a disciplined electorate, never did, and never will. In fact, Dick Randolph (the socialist) and Jay Hammond (the pragmatist) created this silly dividend program specifically to create a never-ending struggle between the greedy elected class and the greedy electorate to somehow help preserve the Permanent Fund corpus…….but all it has really created was a war of greed.

  10. Why not have a rally? The drug dealers will be there. They’ve been stocking up supplies for the free stupid money that will be wasted on drugs, booze and wide screen TV’s.

      • “No doubt the State would make sure that money went to busting drug dealers and jailing them, right?……..”
        If that money didn’t circulate within the intoxicant industries in the first place, maybe fewer dollars would be needed for the prison industry? Or, better yet, use PFD money to build another prison. Let’s review:
        2021 PFD benefit amount = $1,114
        Number of PFD payees = 636,895
        Total 2021 PFD payout = $709,501,030
        And the construction cost of the most recent Alaska prison? $232 million for Goose Creek Correctional Facility in 2012.
        So we can build about three prisons with just one year’s payout, so then maybe the state wouldn’t have to play the game of Revolving Door Justice because we don’t have the room to hold scumbags for the long count.
        Might be a better investment than another ATV, Hawaii vacation, or pound of weed…….

  11. Trust?
    Wherein the Fear?
    We make choices (actions/reactions or lack of same).
    Do we get what we deserve, or deserve what we get?
    I am leaning toward … YES
    Fear outweighs Faith…?

  12. “……They think they can spend money more wisely, and for the greater good, than the people can……”
    I do, too. By far. Each PFD dollar that flies out to Arizona or Hawaii for the winter is a full loss to the state. Every PFD dollar spent on intoxicants like alcohol, marijuana, or meth is a net loss to the state, if not worse.
    The very first year a dividend was issued, a tenant of mine (an “unemployed welder”, and I’m being generous with that description) used the dividends of every member of his family (his, wife’s, and two toddlers) to buy pounds of marijuana to sell. He thought he’d struck it rich.
    I can’t wait for that stinking money to get fully wasted. Alaska will depopulate overnight.

  13. Nicely composed and thoughtful column. I am very much pro PFD and believe a sound formula should be embedded in the Alaska Constitution providing for a dividend for all eligible Alaskans. But I am not in favor of a constitutional convention. A convention would likely be composed of a bunch of hot-headed partisans given the current political climate and might very well result in proposals that would diminish existing rights we all enjoy. Thanks for weighing in on this topic Fritz in a rational and useful manner, even if I disagree with your conclusion.

  14. Senator Mike Shower has spoken about the con-con better than anyone I’ve heard, he made the case for it and addressed the concerns about it. Michael Tavoliero has done a decent job but only rises above the rest of pro con-con crowd because they’ve all done such a masterful job at avoiding making the case for a con-con and avoiding answering the concerns by those of us who want our concerns answered. Every other person who has spoken for the con-con simply fails to address the elephant in the room.

    Article XIII section 4 of the AK Constitution says “Constitutional conventions shall have plenary power to amend or revise the constitution, subject only to ratification by the people. No call for a constitutional convention shall limit these powers of the convention.” For those that don’t know what plenary power means, it means total and complete power, limitless and unfettered power to completely rewrite any and everything in the AK Constitution and thus every law, rule, and regulation on the books.

    We elect “Republican” majorities to the legislature and yet we are ruled by Democrat coalition governments. What is going to happen when we vote for a con-con and the delegates turn out to be the same kind of con-men and con-women as our legislators and then they vote to get rid of the Permanent Fund in it’s entirety?

  15. Steve0

    No matter who the delegates turn out to be or what they come up with the voters have the final say:

    “subject only to ratification by the people”

    • Tom,
      We’re talking about the same people who keep electing “Republican” majorities to the legislature and yet we are ruled by Democrat coalition governments. The same people just voted for rank voting. If the people were able to elect representatives who actually represent how they claim they will during election time I’d feel much more comfortable about the whole process. As it stands now most of the pro con-con supporters want me to trust people who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy and the only response I get is what’s the worst that could happen. I’m sorry, but that’s just not very reassuring.

  16. You need a PFD about as much as Sam P needs to ineptly represent another Alaskan.

    The PFD is an interesting concept but as long as it exists we’ll all live in a welfare state filled with an excess of bums, low brows that breed w/ alacrity, and those that take more than they’re capable of giving. Get rid of it and you’ll dramatically reduce the number of bums and other societal detritus that float along in its wake.

    I’m not suggesting that our local politicians be allowed to squander it as that would be a shame but it doesn’t do what its progenitor had hoped. Far from it.

    • The PFD is a huge shot in the arm for the Alaskan economy though so if you’re a business owner and you sell Honda’s or skiffs or guns or provide transportation then it’s payday for you. But that’s how society is, we want something we have to barter or pay for it it’s always been that way. Sure I’ll take some of those blue glass beads for Manhattan.

    • I am not sure how to read your comment.
      It seems to indicate there are people who will choose not to work because there is a PFD? Is there a human being alive that thinks they can live on a PFD? Do you think a PFD check once a year is driving the homeless situation?
      .
      It is a stretch. However, I do agree with one thing. No one should be relying on the PFD to pay the bills. If your household finances are such that you cannot make it through the year without the PFD, you are doing it wrong.

      • Since the early 1970’s Alaska has funded almost every special interest that’s asked for support. That was never an issue until it became clear that the oil industry won’t be able to provide a never ending windfall to our politicians. Consider all of what Alaska does wrt give away programs of one sort or another and then ask yourself if that’s the kind of opportunity you need in order to support yourself and if it’s not, get rid of the program. If you do need those programs, the time will come when you need to go somewhere else.

        And to address Fork’s view, it’s not the role of government to artificially underwrite private business be they selling skiffs, guns, or anything else.

        Alaska government has built an artificial welfare state bubble and it won’t be healthy until it addresses that and the ‘hog at the trough’ mentality that’s become prevalent. Don’t analyze individual programs, consider them in the agregate.

      • “…….It seems to indicate there are people who will choose not to work because there is a PFD?……..”
        They choose nit to work, and the PFD helps their choice.
        “……..Is there a human being alive that thinks they can live on a PFD?…….”
        You bet there are, especially since there are countless other programs that they know they can depend on.
        “…….Do you think a PFD check once a year is driving the homeless situation?…….”
        It doesn’t have to ‘drive it’, only help fuel it.

        • “especially since there are countless other programs…”
          So, in other words, these people do not think they can live on the PFD.
          .
          And, please take a look at TB’s reply. I was not reading his intent clearly.

  17. Two things amaze me here.

    -so called “conservatives” actively advocating the state keep money away from the people legally entitled to it because of concerns how it might be spent doing things these “conservatives” disapprove of.

    There’s a term for people who think like this: Democrat.

    -the amount of (again) “conservatives” wetting themselves over the possibility the Constitutional Convention might go awry. No great reward comes without great risk.

    These chattering “conservatives” will complain bitterly about how their wishes aren’t followed in Juneau. But they flatly refuse to attempt to take control themselves.

    There’s a word for those people: sheep.

    • “so·cial·ism
      /ˈsōSHəˌlizəm/
      noun
      a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole……..”

  18. Lazy people want free money, justice focused want their share of mineral rights, politicians want to spend. This IS a liberal vs conservative issue at every level. Liberals want a free for all. They want the government to provide everything, including your rights. That takes money. Money is what the pfd is and it helps them reach thier goals of doing everything for the people who are just too stupid to do it themselves. A typical conservative has a moral center and understands the need for limited government, hard work, mutual respect for all people, rule of law, natures laws and the destructive consequences of a free for all society. Alaska has become ripe with liberal ideology. Its Constitution was created liberal so it seems fitting. Those my age remember an Alaska where independence ruled. “We dont give a damn how they do it outside” That spirit is nearly gone. The pfd is nice. Trade it for liberals leaving….no chance i know. Give me a convention then. Force them out. I dont want thier debauchery, thier free money, legal weed, lazy mentality, lcd screen addictions, or anything else they represent. Its gone too far, if you dont see it your the ” what the hell happened ” crowd.

  19. The Federal government gets a significant amount of the PFD through income taxes. More money goes into the Alaska economy by funding Capital, maintenence and education with the PF, instead of dividends. Dividends as the name impies is extra money after expenses. Would any responsible person commit to drawing down their savings account by a fixed $ amount forever?

    • The PFD formula is not a fixed dollar amount. It is a calculated amount that will change year to year.
      .
      And, a lot of people will commit to drawing down their savings in accordance with a fixed formula. There are several versions of the Four Percent rule when it comes to drawing down your retirement savings. And, all of them are fiscally responsible. All of them include drawing a calculated amount from your savings every year.
      .
      So, there are lots of people who will commit to drawing down savings by a fixed formula. EXACTLY like the Permanent Fund should do.

  20. Another thing to thank Sarah Palin for on Nov 8th.
    Supporting the election of Bill Walker & passing our families share of the PF money to the governent.
    Way to go Bitbull.

    • Why is this rally not at the Legislature Bldg on Northern Lights.
      Why is it in the middle of nowhere?
      I don’t know if I could find a more obscure location then this, NO one will see it.

  21. Wasn’t it former Senate President Cathy Giessel who wanted to deny Alaskans a PFD? Apparently, she favored the legislature getting to spend on more bureacracy and pork, rather than putting the money directly into the economy via PFD. I’ll be voting for Roger again.

  22. Well written article. One easy and quick way to tell if any alaskan politician is for the People…do this, ASK them if they are FOR the CON con…the OPEN BORDER idiots will say OH NO THE CON CON would be DANGEROUS !!! they said this before they even knew what it was.

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