House Majority adds $284 million back to budget - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, October 22, 2021
HomeTop NewsHouse Majority adds $284 million back to budget

House Majority adds $284 million back to budget

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A bill that was originally intended to fund the Permanent Fund dividend ended up with no dividend at all, but added back $284 million in spending in the Operating Budget for the current Fiscal Year 2020

That means the cuts to the Operating Budget, once at $444 million through Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s vetoes, are much more modest.

With the House add-backs, spending reductions are just $160 million.

HB 2001 returns $110 million to the University of Alaska system, and $77 million for Medicaid. It also adds back $5 million for the Alaska Marine Highway System, and restores funds to public radio, the State Arts Council, Alaska Legal Services Corp., Alaska Seafood Marketing, myriad education programs and $20 million for the Senior Benefits Program, an entitlement for low- to moderate-income Alaskans over the age of 65.

The measure now goes to the Senate for its consideration. Must Read Alaska has learned the Senate is likely to accept the bill “as is.”

Members of the Republican House Minority said they felt double-crossed by the Democrat-led Majority, because they had agreed to put the full $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend in this bill, but when it got to the floor, it had no such provision.

The bill passed along caucus lines.

The House Democrat-led Majority has a new PFD bill, HB 2003, which moved out of Finance Committee and is in the third reading on the House floor. The funding source for the PFD is entirely decoupled from the oil revenues from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account.

Starting this year, if HB 2003 passes, the dividend will have to compete with government program spending, and in future years, it will not compete well, critics say. In fact, the dividend has already been cut by 53 percent from the statutory amount of $3,000 and is likely to get smaller and smaller, as legislators cannot control their appetite for spending.

HB 2001 and HB 2003 are almost metaphors for what is the big question: Shall government and university administrators get paid, or will the people receive their dividends? It’s become an us-vs-them debate in Alaska, between the working class and the professional class.

The argument that Gov. Dunleavy has repeated throughout his presentations in the past two years reflects what is happening in the Legislature this week: The dividend, if not paid according to statute — whatever that statutory amount is — will be gone in this decade.


Another concept heard around the Capitol in recent days is the term “PFD Holiday,” the idea that the Legislature may simply not pay the PFD for a year or more and characterize it as a time-out period. It’s a concept that has yet to be heard in the public arena.

Whether it’s half a dividend or a PFD Holiday, the current actions in the Legislature are likely to draw a referendum by PFD activists, which would appear on next year’s General Election ballot.

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Written by

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

  • These idiot legislators will be in special session until January 2020, long after the rest of Alaskans have received and stimulated the economy with a $3K PFD.

    • Wait, are you telling me that a $3000 PFD boost the economy? Do you have any supporting fact that the economic boost is proportional to the PFD amount?

      So far in Alaska history, the years following the largest PFds, greater than $1000, saw a decrease in the economy :
      – In 2008, the PFD was $2,069, during the following years, the state lost 3,300 jobs and unemployment rate increase from 6.8 percent to 8 percent.
      – In2015, the PFD was $2,072, during the following years, the state lost 9,200 jobs.

      • Hey Marc, how much did State Government grow in that time? Budget and personnel?
        Keep feeding the monster and see what happens.

  • It’s going to be a VERY tough time to be an incumbent in Alaska. Whether it be the House, Senate, or local gov’t, it doesn’t matter.
    Those of us who actually pay attention will not forget.

  • Leave it up to the house majority, all or none on the PFD. If the house decides not to fund, fine by me. I know that will be the end of Bryce edgemond and Tiffany Zolkowski in rural Alaska.

    Villagers aren’t half as stupid as these two seem to think their constituents are.

    I’ve stood in front of the post office in Quinhagak and done polling on several occasions, unlike Tiffany.
    Guarantee that the vast majority of the village wants and will vote for a full PFD. So will the rest of the villages as they have the same bills to pay.

  • The names of everyone of the crooks on that bill must be published

  • The PFD is not a BUDGET ITEM it is a DIVIDEND From our Mineral Rights. The bottom line is that their spending habits need to be checked in the CBR as their half of the dividend should be only authorized on a 75% vote to protect it from future ineptitude.

    Also if it continues to be a budgetary item the Governor can us the Revised Program Legislative (RPLs) Process..(to fully fund the dividend based on its earnings and the current statutory requirement that is the full dividend…)

    A Revised Program Legislative (RPL) is a type of budget revision that is subject to review by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.

    Sec. 37.07.080 states: (h) The increase of an appropriation item based on additional federal or other program receipts not specifically appropriated by the full legislature may be expended in accordance with the following procedures:

    (Sounds like the Dividend Program to me, now that they want it to be a budgetary item if funding is zero the governor can say..Hey we have this appropriation that is under funded…Now I add 1.9 Billion and 3K according to the revenues taken and not spent…Enough Said)..

    perfectly within the Governors Purview……

  • What an absolute “Clown Show” of epic proportions!!! It clearly demonstrates a complete and utter lack of vision, responsibility, and leadership.
    If Alaskans truly stand for this nonsense, and allow it to occur without any significant and meaningful challenge, then they deserve the inevitable outcome!!!

  • Those idiot house majority members need to be voted out for wanting to take our PFD’s once again!

  • Dunleavy Strong. Do you hear us, wacko legislators…?

    • Tim, you got it wrong, you should reverse the word letter and add another word in between: STRONG, RECALL DUNLEAVY.

      • That’s funny. We voted him in.

  • It seems no matter how many times I check a day, something new and nefarious and underhanded has occurred down in Juneau. As a shareholder in the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Corporation, as are ALL qualified residents, I thoroughly resent the outright theft of the proceeds I am due.

    Period end.

    • Maybe as a shareholder of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Corporation, you should look at how private companies are run.

      When ConocoPhillips lost $4.4 billion in 2015, the company reduced its dividend by two-thirds from 75 cents per share to 25.

  • So we are headed toward a PFD of zero.
    When your electricity bills triple, when your child’s university program is closed, when your neighbor who works in road construction is forced onto the dole and you still don’t have a check remember to thank Eastman for “standing tall” and for shouting “comprise” while refusing to accept a $1600 compromise.

    • Why would the electricity bill triple?? We need more people like Eastman in the Alaska legislature.. And lets me be honest UAA and UAF are a joke, if any parent was smart, when they collect that pfd invest it for there kids and send them out of state to a top tier college…

      • Because if you live in a rural village you benefit from a power subsidy that the governor vetoed and in areas where diesel is brought in the subsidy is needed to keep the lights on.
        UAF has the best arctic research program in the world. UAA has many solid program. Anything else is propaganda parroting

        • The Governor didn’t veto Power Cost Equalization. This fiasco belongs solely to the legislature for failing to pass the reverse sweep.

          • Exactly. Bryce keeps playing hot potatoes with a live hand grenade with the PCE, but it is totally within his means to pass it as well as scholarships. This chicken little routine he is playing is getting old. Certain the voters will remember.

    • It’s not about the money fool. It’s about a budget we can live with. Balanced!

      • I’d prefer a growth budget to a “balanced” one but if you want balance you should be asking for an income tax. Or some other tax — but a fair income tax will help working people while, say, a sales tax will hurt the working poor.
        You may or may not know that the budget isn’t balanced even with the vetoes.
        You may or may not understand that the cuts and the PFD debate is working against balance by lowering our bond rating.

        • Not balanced yet, but getting there next year. I prefer a sales tax vs income tax. That makes it fair for all.

  • Leave it on the house, all or none. Period. End.

  • What a damn shame. Dunleavy tried. This clown show is a great illustration of why we need term limits and the need to disallow campaign contributions to any person or entity not eligible to vote.

    • May I ask what Suzanne means in between us-vs-them debate in Alaska, between the working class and the professional class. As far as I know, any worker is a professional? Or is she meaning, the people at UA are worker, and other people are professionals? I’m confused by her assessment, in fact, I’m often confused by Suzanne’s statement.

  • This is what mob rule looks like. A coup engineered by the 907 Bolsheviks. L

  • Just so you all know who is really at the rudder of this ship of state, please check this pdf file from the State of Alaska:

  • Welcome to the New Amerika’ where there was once a great working “middle class” but as Congress continued to raise our National debt and senators “championed” the call for more state spending (to receive more federal money which was created by selling more Bonds to Forgein Banks)…we slowly devalued our currency, sold off our “shares” in the country and taxed the middle class out of existence.


  • It finally comes out. The dims/lib/socialists want the entire PFD. Anyone surprised? I’m not. If they get the entire PFD, they will want the whole enchilada next. Their dim/socialist appetite will never be sated. The worst part is, the money will be wasted elevating even the lowliest ‘public employee’ to a ‘upper middle class’ or higher, while the rest of Alaskans are demoted to a semi or full poverty status via zero fiscal/fiduciary discipline, ridiculous spending and various taxes yet to be thrown at Alaskan citizens. Attempts to tax us more are coming soon, mark my words. The dims/socialists don’t care, as long as they and their cronies get theirs. The current actions of AMHS are a “shining” example of exactly how much they care for ‘regular’ Alaskans, their businesses, their way of life and social justice. Same with UA. It’s absolutely amazing how the idiotic majority “legislators” think they can protest and strong arm the rest of Alaskans into giving in to their specious, reckless spending. Alaskans, our turn is coming. We have to survive the current madness invoked by our “representatives”. We will survive it and then it will be the shoe on the other foot. Reality can be a bit_h, especially when least expecting it. I hope Governor Dunleavy has lots of red ink left. I know he has the nerve and will to use it. We need to support him every way we can.

  • That’s the plan. Make us natives and others more depending on the government handouts, thus weakening us. Takes away out ability to govern ourselves. Shame on you Bryce Edgmon.

  • The Democrats crossing anybody? Who would have guessed?

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