Full dividend fails House vote, 21-15 - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
HomePoliticsFull dividend fails House vote, 21-15

Full dividend fails House vote, 21-15

On Day 147 of the 2019 legislative session, the Capital Budget was finally on the House floor, and lawmakers debated Amendment No. 1: a full statutory $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend.

34 of the 36 members present in the House rose to speak for or against the amendment, and in the end it failed, 21-15.

The Republican minority voted for the entire $3,000 dividend, with Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and Rep. Tammie Wilson joining them, and the Democrat-led majority voted against it.

Many of those who spoke in favor of the statutory formula for determining the dividend said it was about restoring the trust of the people. Before the Walker Administration, the dividend was calculated based on the five-year rolling average of the performance of the Permanent Fund.

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky, pictured above, who represents one of the poorest parts of the state, said her vote against the full dividend was because she wanted to balance the needs of the people in her district for the cash they would get now vs. future services they also told her they wanted. Rep. Adam Wool echoed those remarks.

Rep. Geran Tarr said the Mountain View Community Council in her district told her they preferred services over getting their dividend, and Rep. Harriet Drummond of Spenard-Midtown said that her constituents told her loud and clear they want to be taxed to preserve government spending. She said no kindergartner should have a PFD, nor someone in high school, for that matter.

Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak said people told her to do whatever she needs to do to protect government programs.

The amendment was offered by Rep. Dave Talerico of Healy, who made the case for following the statute established in the early 1980s for calculating the dividend. But 21 of the members did not agree with him.

It appears now that the dividend will be part of the next special session of the Legislature, which will be called after this session ends on June 15, or whenever either the House or Senate gavels out. The only thing accomplished in this special session is an operating budget, which is heading to the governor’s desk for a signature.

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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

  • I believe HB49, the crime reform, reform bill was also passed this session if I’m not mistaken.

    • My question is, if the total payout for 2019 pfd was 900 dollars rather than 3k dollars would we get a zero payout of the pfd and 900 dollars to the darn greedy spending government. Did anybody bring that up them. Just because it’s a huge lump some payout for 3k dollars the government wants some of it. The legislative claim that most of Alaskans want to give their pfd to help government spending. I think we should do this. We should do this let’s give the full 3k pfd to the people, let the people decide if they want to share their pfd with the government. Let the government set up a donation site and see how much they will accumulate I’m thinking maybe a few dollars. And that’s how we will see the people of Alaska have spoken about sharing their pfd.

  • So let me get this straight. A lot of people would rather have year-round money than the PFD. So I should give up my PFD so they can have year-round money. Yes?

    • As I heard several House members tell it, a lot of people would rather have year-round services than the PFD.

      • Didn’t they have year-round services, AND the PFD ~ before Gov. Walker & his cronies stole it?

        If it could be that way once, it could be that way once again!

        • They did have both but the drop in oil revenues forced the issue (one or the other).
          The only way it gets back to both is by increasing revenues IMO. We are attempting to increase oil output but that’s costing us about $1 billion in oil-tax credits/year. Alaskans haven’t been taxed in close to 40 years now and so-far aren’t in the mood for new taxes.
          At this point it’s easier to take PFD money than pass a tax so that’s what is being done. Democrats don’t like it but they don’t control much and Republicans are mostly OK with giving up their PFDs rather than an income tax.

          • Why, then, doesn’t Alaska look again at the option of legalizing the powerball lottery & casinos? State revenue can be gained from those options ~ and people would happily pay that sort of “tax”. ?

          • Not taxed in 40 years? You had best study up on the Alaska history. Do you remember a little thing called the “Jones Act”? It’s not a tax, but a law that requires all overseas goods to come to a U.S. port (in the lower 48) first. As one of the conditions of the Statehood Act, the Jones Act was to be repealed for Alaska. It was not, another broken promise. Technically, Alaska has been “taxed” by shipping unions for years.

        • There are not enough people that could make casinos work IMO. I just don’t know enough about Powerball but suspect the same issue would limit the income the State could get from any taxing of it.
          Remember here that the PFD total for the statutory amount is close to $2 billion (with a b). The amount taken from recent PFDs only covers the amount spent to encourage oil exploration (hoping to fill that pipeline).

          • In 2015, the Revenue Department studied lotteries. In the 2015 Fall Revenue Sources Book, it said that Alaska could generate $8 million state revenue with a lottery. ~ Put casinos in the biggest cities (creating more jobs, too) and I’m sure they would create a lot of state revenue.

          • The amount taken from previous PFD sits in the PFD Earning Reserve, it wasn’t used to cover anything.

          • Emily, as I mentioned the shortfall for this year’s PFD is around $1 billion so that $8 million is just a drop in the bucket towards funding a statutory PFD. Then there is the situation of making it legal. There has, so far, not been any push from Native Alaskans towards casinos but that could change.
            Steve-O, some of those dollars in ERA are destined to be transferred to Corpus of PF and the rest could be used but fly in the face of the POMV amount allowed by (I think SB 26). So far this Legislature is not on board with overspending that ERA-they were not on board with larger cuts to GF budget to provide a larger PFD and, most recently, House attempted to fund some of Capital Budget from CBR to free up GF money for a larger PFD (with no luck as needed 3/4 vote).

  • Is the operating budget even funded without the reverse sweep?

  • Question, to anyone here who knows ~ can the Governor force the PFD issue to go to a vote, of the people, if the legislature keeps failing the resolution to return it ?

  • I don’t believe Tiffany Zulkosky or anyone else that thinks their constituents would rather have “services” than $3000. I don’t know who she or any of the other Democrats talked to, but it was the average Alaskan in their district and this especially applies to the poorest parts of the state, like Native rural villages, where they depend on the dividend and their native corporation dividends to buy the miscellaneous stuff they need to live where there are no services. Tiffany Zulkosky is a liar and it is campaign contributions from teachers unions that made her lie and vote that way. It is another 2 PFDs before another election, before they can go back to their district and explain to the real constituents why she didn’t let them have their money.

  • Governor Dunleavy should look at spending in those Representative districts and line Item Veto than tell their constituents you will get neither.

  • I can’t believe the lies from these people. We get less than half of the earnings. The other half of the earnings/profits goes back into the principle. We are supposed to get half the earnings, but the state has been taking 80%. So we have been getting only 20% what we should have. Average 10% return on 64 billion is over 6 billion a year. We are supposed to get 3 billion in dividends, or thereabouts. But the state starts out magically at 703 million. The state has been keeping over 2 billion of our money. Now that they have been caught, they don’t want to give up the 1.6 billion. Waaaaaaaa. Are we going to have to fight for it every year? Remember, they are already getting half the earnings in the first place.

    • You know what to do before the next election cycle, Julie. And please consider running for State House. I’ll run your campaign.

  • Alaska Republicans.

    .

    aka the Northern American Gib-me-dats

    • “Accuse the other side what you are guilty of” is rule #1 in the communist er- democrat playbook.

  • Wilson came back on board at the last minute. Anyone care to guess why?

    • To not lose her next re-election? ~ which she most certainly, Should !

      • Here… Here… She’s lost my vote.

        Hear that Tammy?

        • Lost mine too. Tammy Wilson is an over-abundant traitor.

  • Link to the vote roll?

  • I worked hard for my money.

  • “do whatever she needs to do to protect government programs” So maybe she should kill off the citizens? Think we have seen this before…

  • At no point did I say I was told to do whatever it takes to protect government programs by those who I represent.

    • OMG Rep. Stutes, that is so funny because I was just watching the 360 north section of the debate where you said this:

      “They appreciate all of the state services they are receiving at no cost to them. Every time I go home, and as my cochair of transportation mentioned earlier in relation to the Alaska marine highway, people are stopping me and they are saying, ‘Take it all if you need to. Just maintain our services.”

      I’m pretty sure the article capture that perfectly. I was a bit of a doubter so I watched it. Sorry, but it’s exactly what you’re saying.

      • Maintaining state services i.e. Marine highway, public safety, etc. are to me different than “government programs” and I stand by what I said my constituents are more interested in maintaining a healthy Marine highway system with a healthy D.O.T., public safety, education, etc. even if that means a smaller PFD.

        • “Marine highway, public safety, etc. are to me different than “government programs” ” Haha! That’s the best one I’ve heard all week.

          You and your constituents live in a topsy-turvy world, where government is the provider of all things “good” and “just” and the commoners are here to provide you with a tax base to fund your vote buying schemes.

          Dream on…

          Here’s a simple idea – If you and your constituents want a smaller PFD or no PFD in exchange for cheaper rides to and from the “mainland”, you can do several things: 1. Don’t take the PFD and leave the money there for the bureaucrats to spend how they see fit or 2. Move to the mainland. But keep your grubby little mitts out of my childrens’ and grandchildrens’ pockets.

          You, madame, are part of the problem.

        • Didn’t they have all that, along with the PFD ~ before Gov. Walker & his cronies (you, included) stole it?

          In future, please run as the true democrat that you are, instead of being a RINO. You are clearly of the tax-and-spend, big government, socialist ideology. Quit lying to your constituents, and voting against Republicans..

      • Just a reminder, AKSurferGirl, you’re addressing a member of the Alaska State Ruling Class, you should be appropriately respectful and humbly grateful for what they give you.
        .
        It is not your place to understand PFD’s as royalties paid in lieu of subsurface rights, nor should you argue about PFD’s being paid from the billions of dollars safely stored out of your reach in constitutionally questionable sub-funds like the Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool or the Power Cost Equalization Program.
        .
        It is your place to accept the lessons so generously provided by your Peoples Representative, that the proletariat want no money from the State, workers are simply grateful for State-provided services, and will pay anything the State wishes to keep them.
        .
        You must understand that the People pay state lobbyists nearly $20M per year to buy services from our Imperial State Legislature, the People must be provided with what they bought, and your PFD pittance may be required to provide what they bought.
        .
        Hopefully, Peoples Representative Stutes forgives your youthful exuberance, no?

    • Maybe you could arrange a car to push around Wasilla? That’s a sure fire way to demonstrate your leadership and concern for Alaskans.

      .

      Protip: Make sure the media has been notified in advance.

    • ““I move that Legislative Council authorize per diem payments retroactive to May 16, 1019, for the days in which members were physically present in Juneau for the first special session of the 31st Alaska State Legislature.” — Rep. Louise Stutes, making a motion to Legislative Council.”

      You really are quite tone deaf, aren’t you Louise? Did your constituents tell you you should go ahead and pay yourself and the other turncoats this nice little bonus?

      You and the rest of your cohorts in crime should be ashamed yourselves. Oh, wait… Silly me. You all have no shame.

  • Rep. Louise Stutes

    If you were in my district, I would be working hard to have you recalled with great prejudice. I recommend my friends in Kodiak think carefully about their district representation, and what you have done to the people of Alaska.

    • If she was in my district, we’d be doing the same thing ! Recall her with great prejudice ~ failing that, we would vote her out.

    • Before or after the ferries are shut off?

  • This is funny. Anchorage’s constituents in areas like Mountain View (Rep. Tarr) and Spenard (Rep. Drummond), would rather keep the same government services, like some of the worst public schools, highest crime rates, worst dilapidate housing, lack of mental health/drug addiction, lack of economic growth and jobs, and pot-ridden roads. What are those government services that those constituents are so in love with that they’d gladly love to pay more taxes to ensure they keep getting it (Rep. Drummond’s claim)? Too many constituents in Anchorage don’t realize that they’re all already paying state taxes, they’re just not called “income” or “sales” tax. Add in all those licensing fees we pay for nearly everything we want to do. I, for one, are already over taxed from both the state and the Anchorage Municipality in relation to services I use or receive. I don’t have a strong preference about the PFD but I do have a very strong opposition to more taxes and expanded government (mostly terribly managed) services those Anchorage Representatives are protecting.

  • Can they restructure the PFD by putting an age limit on it as in 18 and up?

  • I think the PFD calculation is fine and we should get our full amount, actually they should refund the ones they stole from us for the last 3 years!

    If anyone doesn’t want their PFD they can donate it to their local governments to subsidize all those benefits they value so much, but I don’t think I should have to pay for their benefits with my PFD.

    I have my own needs and can decide for myself how my money should be spent!

  • We are all native at one point. We all integrate at one point. What is taking Alaska natives so long to integrate into the general population and recieve the same amount of help everyone else does. My personal friend witch is native to Alaska. Joined the military. Integrated into society. Why are we paying them to live the way they do??? We are all native. They are just lazy.. for them to hold up are votes on not integration tactics is shameful.

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