HB 1005 gets pounded by public testimony - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, October 17, 2019
HomePoliticsHB 1005 gets pounded by public testimony

HB 1005 gets pounded by public testimony

TESTIMONY CONTINUES AT 5 PM, BUT COMMITTEE HIDES CALL-IN NUMBER

House Finance today heard testimony from the public on House Bill 1005, offered by Reps. Tammie Wilson and Neal Foster, which would give Alaskans a $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend this year, but after that, their dividends would be cut in half.

The public was not amused. Caller after caller blasted the committee for the legislation. Some of them expressed anger at Rep. Wilson, who is the Republican from North Pole who co-chair the committee.

Just one caller said he favored the idea, but only if the budget was cut further. The other 75 said “no” in no uncertain terms.

Wilson had planned to push the bill out of committee but instead cancelled the 1:30 pm meeting, and extended public testimony.

The hearing, which lasted for three hours, is scheduled to continue today at 5 pm.

But the committee, run by the Democrat-led Majority Caucus, did not post the phone number online for calling into the meeting this evening. It appears to be an effort to suppress testimony, said members of the House Republican Minority Caucus.

The House Republican Minority had to send out a press release with the number on it:

“Individuals in Anchorage who are interested testifying should call (907) 563-9085; those outside of Anchorage should call (844) 586-9085, or sign in at your local LIO by 6:00 p.m.”

For information about how HB 1005 changes the Permanent Fund payout, check Must Read Alaska’s analysis here.

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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 testified at the Fairbanks LIO this morning, and said that I support HB-1005, but only under certain conditions.

    I said I wish we had a PF dividend that was just the right size so that it would fit within a balanced budget.

    But I said, if it was absolutely insisted that we just have to have a dividend that is too big and bloated for a balanced budget, then I would support HB-1005 so as to avoid breaking past the 5.25% sustainable draw limit on the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve Account (E.R.A.). HB-1005 would prevent busting the 5.25% limit and violating last year’s new POMV law (SB-26). HB-1005 would draw 1/2 billion dollars out of the CBR savings account. I don’t really like drawing more from the Constitutional Budget Reserve (after sucking it down already, for the past 4 years), but drawing from the CBR is not as financially irresponsible as taking too much out of the E.R.A.

    For the past 4 years I have not cashed my PFD checks. I endorse them and send them back to the state with a note requesting they be deposited in the state’s general fund so as to reduce the state’s budget deficit. I feel it would be wrong of me to accept the money while the budget has a gaping deficit.

    I wish this year’s budget would be balanced. That might mean a $400 to $1000 PFD. Then I could keep the money with a clear conscience. But if the PFD is $3000, and the budget has a big deficit, then I will send the 2019 PFD back to the state. I would rather be able to sleep at night, than be a party to immoral, irresponsible and greedy behavior.

    • Randy, I appreciate your standing with your conscience to return your dividend check to the state, but if think the legislature needs to cut spending to balance the budget, which requires either laying off a substantial number of government union employees or substantially reducing their compensation package, you have a weak negotiating strategy.
      Your position boils down to this: If you don’t do what I want, I will send you more money. … The odds are that you will continue to send them more money, which is your prerogative, but I respectfully disagree with your strategy.

      • What is wrong with Wilson? This legislator is a fruitcake and worse than Knopp. Get rid of her yesterday.

        • Vote her out and anyone else who thinks they are smarter than our Governor Dunleavy or the people of Alaska. And if the Democrats don’t want you to have a full PFD vote them out as well.

      • I would like to see your tax returns and your work and employment record

        • Albert,
          You sound like Pelosi and Nadler. What does tax returns or work history have to do with your opinion? Nothing. Simply another ploy by jejune wingnuts/dims (you) to confuse the issue and try to steer the debate into their “thought process”.

        • So will you release yours? Oh, that’s right, people like you don’t play by the same rules!

      • Mike, you have a good point that I have a weak negotiating strategy with the legislators by giving them more money (my PFD) if they don’t cut enough to balance the budget. However, it never occurred to me that I’m negotiating with them.

        The reason I donate my PFD checks to the state, and then crow about it, is because I’m trying to get the attention of my fellow citizens (with a little bit of dramatics) about the importance of a balanced budget.

        I want my fellow citizens to believe that people should take a dividend by earning it honestly – by cutting spending to create a surplus. They should not take the dividend in a wicked manner- by grabbing more than they have earned, which creates a deficit.

        They should not put the cart before the horse. They should first balance the budget and then reap the reward. They should first eat their vegetables and then have the dessert (PFD). Maybe the desert will just be a very thin slice of pecan pie, but they will have done things right if they do the responsible task first.

        It would be wrong to eat an entire cake and a half gallon of ice cream before our proper meal. We must have fiscal restraint, prudence, responsibility and vision for the future. Then thousands of us must direct our representatives in Juneau to do the right things. We must be armed with practical and well thought out ideas for cost savings, and have patience as we proceed step by step.

        Also, it may happen that in some years there may not be much of a surplus, for legitimate reasons. Maybe, we decide to go ahead with the Susitna dam, or maybe we (the state) would become a minority partner in a viable natural gas pipeline that actually gets built, and we have to lay out some cash in the early years. Or maybe we need to catch up on maintenance or the PERS unfunded liability. And so, our PFDs might be smaller.

        But a flexible PFD that is inversely proportional to state spending, will keep the citizens keenly attentive to the manner in which the state spends its money. But if the old 1982, out of date, fixed PFD statutory formula were locked into the Alaska constitution, then citizens would no longer be concerned with cutting government spending. They would only be concerned with increasing spending on government programs that benefit them.

        The people would say give me my full cake and half gallon of ice cream, and plus give me my rack of BBQ ribs too. Bums, drug addicts and criminals would be drawn up to Alaska by the thousands. A state income tax would be imposed. Alaska would be pretty much destroyed.

        • Your biggest hurdle is the belief that your PFD money comes from the Government and is part of the government’s budget money. NOT.

          • Bingo Beth!

    • Why would you waste the time of state employees, the wasted paper, the administration fees to pull the money out and not want it? Just use common sense and not file for it at all

    • Randy, of the 6 total that I heard for HB 1005, yours was the best laid out and honest. Disagree with you and agree with Mike Prax, but at least you put your money where your mouth is.
      We need to cut spending, period. The 1.6 Billion cut by the Governor, spot on.
      As to the POMV and specifically SB 26 where all that come from. Like the Governor has said, “Prior to Governor Walker, no complaints about the PFD”. What we must do is elect real conservatives, House and Senate, then full on repeal of SB 26, Constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund and balance the budget.
      The Governors plan would give us a balanced budget, as oil revenues increase put back more into savings (he revamps the CBR). Once budget is balanced and the legislature starts serious savings, outside of the Permanent Fund, then when a downpour happens, like oil down to $25/barrel, we could maintain the needed government for that budget situation (his Constitutional Amendment mandating a 2.5% inflation increase). He is also pushing for and with a stable government will, bring in other industries besides oil. What many have called for but not acted on.
      As to “I don’t understand”, if Randy doesn’t apply for the PFD, that means a very slight increase in our PFD, since he is not “counted” for the formula. The impact of him and others sending back money, is pretty tiny, but if that is what he and others want to do with their money, OK. I spend my money the way I want, he spends his the way he wants. Solid conservative values 🙂

  • There should be NO changes to the PFD without a vote from the Alaskan people. I’m voting No.

    • Exactly… no changes unless there is a vote by the people!

      No means NO!

      A big thanks to the Less Than Honorable Rep. Knopp… he is the cause of much of this.

      • I agree Griz. He got this party started. I don’t know what magical elixir he put in the coffee but I never thought I’d see the day Tammi Wilson would roll. You can’t make this crap up!

  • apparently the liberals have cut the number of lines for the people to call in on and most are hanging up due to extremely long wait times.

  • Testimony just closed at 1930 and the pounding continued to the very end. After over an hour waiting on the phone I had to hang up.

  • When did conservatives become socialists?

    • They aren’t really conservative.

      They’re just the Alaska version of give me dats.

      • These callers were mostly little folks wanting/needing the money to get by. The real conservatives (big money folks) are in favor of the taking of the PFDs so’s they don’t have to pay an income tax.
        For example, the former head of GCI made a salary of $2 million and was in favor of giving up his PFD-imagine that.

        • Bill,
          I told myself I wouldn’t respond to your comments again. An exception. The “little folks” are actually Alaskan citizens/voters, that want fair play by their “representative” politicians. As far as GCI is concerned, that is a private company with the right to do as they please, within the law, regarding business decisions. Public entities are not (supposedly) afforded the right to let personal opinions dictate their “representation” of constituents wants and desires. They are bound, by oath, to represent their constituents’. Not happening, by a large part.

          • Ben, my comment had nothing to do with what GCI could do-it only mentioned them as providing a salary of $2 million to an employee of theirs. My comment was that this employee favored giving up his PFD rather than pay an income tax and this was just a business decision by an individual (with an unusually high income). Further, this individual was unlike those calling into House Finance on HB1005.

        • In case you’ve missed it, most of the wealthy in this country are Democrats.

          Earth to Yankee, come in Yankee….

          • Griz, this is not a Democrat or Republican thing IMO. And next you’ll try to tell us that all those wealthy buds of Trump are Democrats. Heheh!

    • When they took our Mineral Rights.

  • Like everyone calling in is going to change their mind. HA HA HA.

  • This is my opinion of that – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYWDDZIuoII

  • I tried to explain the pfd vs taxes 82 live in a 4 bedroom home on 4 acres worth 229,000 plus, my neighbor 65 plus years live in one room cabin, no water or sewer; now does this make sense that we both lose the same amount on pfd and neither pays property taxes

  • Tammie Wilson…. the illusion of power…..and intelligence.

  • Does anybody know what people did before all these government programs came out? I mean back in the day when it was neighbors helping neighbors and if that wasn’t enough you went to your church or A church for help.
    Government is extremely expensive to begin with and with each new government program they come out with, it requires more government staff to manage and oversee it.
    In the old days people knew who helped them and that help came out of their pocket. Now days people have an entitlement attitude that the government should take care of them and with “government money”.
    The government doesn’t have a single dime that it didn’t first take from somebody else. And that is pretty much true for all forms of government and on all levels.

    • EXACTLY!!

  • I support 1005 and suggest the actual PFD be capped at no more than $1200. I have witnessed a string of welfare cases moving to Alaska to gain access to this give away program. As the word gets out, expect more indigents to move to Alaska to tap into this program. Consider a savings account if you will for residents that remain in Alaska and can only access their account at age 62. Invest some of this money into infrastructure that will allow residents to get jobs; roads and the marine highway are two requirements for commercial development projects.

  • I was born in Anchorage and have lived most of my life in the State of Alaska. I remember Gov Keith Miller speak of a PFD program in 1969. I believe that the distribution of annual funds from the PFD should only come from the earned annual interest and not to exceed 25% for citizen’s share and not to exceed 65% for state funds expenses.

    As a student of state history l believe that only sourdough citizens should be the only ones to receive a full amount. Let the cheecockos put in there time to earn a full share. Zobel vs the State of Alaska was improperly applied due to political liberal bais. If your only here to live here to get the check…get the hell out. Alaskans put in years of effort to uplift our quality of life by working at it.

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