House passes operating budget early, with Permanent Fund dividend at $2,273

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The Alaska House of Representatives passed the Operating and Mental Health budgets, HB 268 and HB 270 on Thursday, with unanimous support from House Majority members. The vote was 23-17. The consolidated efforts in HB 268 and HB 270, total $12.3 billion from all fund sources, including state and federal, plus Permanent Fund earnings.

HB 268, the state’s operating budget, contains these highlights:

  • Education: Substantial additional one-time funding of $174.6 million, equivalent to a $680 BSA increase, reaffirms our commitment to education. The budget also contains significant investments in K-3 education assistance, career and technical education initiatives, Head Start, and the READS act.  School bond debt reimbursement is also fully funded at $44.9 million.
  • Public Safety: An infusion of $3.5 million for 10 additional VPSO positions and strategic investments in crime investigation and domestic violence prevention underscores the House’s commitment to safeguarding communities.
  • Statehood Defense: Bolstering resources to safeguard Alaska’s sovereignty, including additional funding for litigation and support for natural resources specialists, reaffirms state commitment to protecting our state’s interests.
  • Permanent Fund Dividend: Honoring the lawful commitment to Alaskans, the House’s version of the bill contains a $2,273 PFD, which would represent the third largest dividend in Alaska’s history.

Immediately, Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel slammed the budget, saying on social media that there will be cuts, and she indicated the cuts would come from the dividend.

“The Senate gets the Operating Budget next and we will, of course, rein in the spending. Our Bipartisan Coalition Majority is committed to not spend beyond available revenue, not spending from savings, and to allocate an affordable dividend.” That means the Senate is dedicated to not following Alaska Statute and the formula laid out in law. The Senate majority is dominated by Democrats.

Last year, the Senate held the budget until the last minute and then forced it back to the House with no time to respond, requiring a special session. Political observers will be keeping a close eye on Senate hostilities this year to see if the pattern repeats.

27 COMMENTS

  1. An oath to GOD is first & foremost to GOD we the people deserve the full dividend amount owed to us finally, it is time we cash the people out one big chunk check for all & be done. Oath takers o j Simpson meant his fate yesterday we all are going to we all make our beds, AN OATH TO GOD FOR WE THE PEOPLE MEANS EVERYTHING TO GOD SO HELP YOU GOD OATH BREAKERS. Get off the obama juice

  2. Call your state senator and affirm the House version of PFD is the way to go. Private sector has been deprived of state money too much, state employees enjoy big raises, I haven’t even mentioned runaway inflation to add to the mix.

  3. I still remember, before the last election, when Republicans spoke out loudly against budgets like the one the house passed today.

    The governor sent us a $10.8 billion dollar budget. Note: This does not yet include the capital budget or the supplemental budget, which will both be added later in the process.

    Our Republican-majority house just added $274 million in spending, pushing it over $11 billion. Again, without even taking into account the capital budget or the supplemental budget.

    As conservatives, we had a policy when we were in the Republican Minority that we would not put forward proposals to add additional spending to the Democrat budget, and that if we wanted to add something to the budget we had to take the money from something else in the budget so that it either cut the budget or was at least budget neutral.

    That rule (guideline) has now disappeared.

    The first amendment on Tuesday was to add money to the budget for Arctic Winter Games. The Amendment added $300,000 to the budget, supported by 17 out of 22 Republicans.

    Another Republican amendment this week was to add $4 million to the budget to create a new homeless shelter and call it a “drug-free zone”. It was supported by 21 out of 22 Republicans.

    Another amendment added $10 million in subsidies for seafood marketing and tourist marketing. Eight Republicans voted to add this to the budget.

    To offset this, they slashed the PFD by 30%.

    They cut the money the governor had in the budget to support grand juries.

    They cut some vacant positions.

    This was the $11.1 billion budget that every Republican member of the majority voted for today. Compared to the governor’s budget (sans PFD) it added 2.5% in total spending and made up for this by slashing the PFD by 30%.

    A couple of years ago we would have screamed bloody murder at the Democrats for adding spending to the budget when we “didn’t have enough money” to follow the law and distribute a full PFD.

    Over the last eight years, legislators have withheld more than half of Alaskans’ PFD’s. You read that right, most of your PFD over the last eight years has been kept to fund state government.

    In many other respects the budget remains the same. Abortions still receive 100% funding through State Medicaid dollars. Gender-Affirming Care for minors (e.g. puberty blockers) will be funded again next year through Medicaid. Those never-ending ads for more Covid vaccines…those will still be funded next year.

    According to today’s vote all of the things listed above were a higher priority than paying a full dividend.

    When we tried to add back money to support grand juries ($250K for each judicial district) taken from excess funds in the legislature’s budget, 7 Republicans said YES. Sadly, 15 Republicans said NO.

    We can try to spin today as a Republican victory, but I still remember when most Republicans were in the minority (right before the last election) and we would have called an $11B+ budget outrageous and an offense to Alaskans.

    • So what, exactly, is your point? You often are the poster child for myopic alleged Republican actions.

      Hang up your hair shirt, Tartuffe.

    • I have to agree with David Eastman this time. But what’s to be done? If you don’t want to be robbed you shouldn’t have money. When the money is finally gone, maybe we can have a proper government. Just look at the history of other oil states and the demise of their windfalls by way of corruption.

  4. Call them and tell them the permanent fund dividend shall be based upon a five-year average of the Permanent Fund’s performance split 50/50 (not 75/25) between government and eligible applicants and not based on the average price of Alaska crude oil.

    FYI: As of April 10, 2024, current fund value is $79,820,700,000 with a rate of return fiscal year to date as of February 29, 2024 @ 4.63% AND 8.40% over 5 years.

    There is money there for dividends so don’t believe the politicians that say there isn’t enough money to pay for full dividends. However the State is choosing to take more of your half of your PFD to fund bigger goverment programs and more special interests.

  5. Sure, take another Billion out of the almost-empty savings account to pay a big fat PFD. That sounds like a really responsible thing to do. Like drunken sailors, Alaskans will wake up some day and wonder where their Permanent Fund all went. Big-screen TVs, flights to Hawaii, and snow machines no doubt.

    • That may have been like 20-25 yrs ago, but for the majority of the personal PFD pays for pay property taxes ALSO MEDICAL EXPENSES; EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES, household needs and, food to hold-out for the winter months and just basic living expenses.. IF by some chance if there is some money left over, just maybe SOME SAVINGs for a short trip somewhere. They ARE STEALING what is OWED to us.

    • Do you even have any concept on how the PFD was set up and how it was supposed to be distributed? You probably think the state is much better at spending the people’s money.

    • Besides, If they GAVE US OUR FULL PFD, many people wouldn’t NEED their Welfare and other Gov’t benefits as Gov Hammond once mentioned, the people know more how to spend their own money more then the Gov’t knowing how waste the people’s money. Gov Hammond knew something more the Gov Walker, the crappy Chinese Governor, trying to sell our Alaska to the Chinese.

    • Oh child….

      Your lack of understanding of economics is only surpassed by your lack of comprehension how government is supposed to be funded.

      Where are you from, anyway?

      While you bleat out the same old stupid progressive tropes regarding what you regard as wasteful spending (not your business even if true), you ignore reality.

      Many people use their money, and it is their money due them as investors in Alaska, to

      Pay bills
      Buy supplies for long bush winters
      Save for the future
      Pay tuition
      Home repair

      And so much more.

      It’s funny how the ardent defenders of “democracy” are so quick to ignore laws and procedures which get in their way.

      Little things like statutory requirements can’t be allowed to get in the way of progressive utopia.

      • So I guess you’re basically in favor of a Universal Basic Income, then.

        Funny, I thought that Conservatives thought this was Socialism and were adamantly against it. Not Alaskan Conservatives, apparently.

    • It’s beyond you, but have you ever wondered why we’re in fiscal difficulties?

      Simple: the progressive utopia people like you want costs more money than we have. Instead of cutting programs and reducing staff, government has grown far beyond our ability to pay for it.

  6. The politicians continue to steal money from honest Alaskans.
    Cut the budget and give Alaskans their money.

  7. It’s sad to see the House vote for a PFD that will never happen. I guess it gives all those legislators the opportunity to say ‘Hey I voted for the big PFD, now vote for me in November. Knowing all along that number will be reduced. Do politicians really think we are that stupid?

    • It’s actually the Giessel like a hydra or a virus that keeps coming back to hurt your PFD. She wants it so badly and we let her do what she wants. How does she keep getting elected anyway???

      • Simply Cathy is a much better legislator than Roger Holland was. I asked him questions about the PFD one time. His answer was go talk to Jim Crawford, really?

  8. Thieves. Politicians are the worst among us. D worse then R, but not by very much. A pox on them.

    One can understand the guillotines uses….

  9. It’s time, We as Alaskans, reel these people in and remind them who they work for!
    The local levels need to get back to a Conservative Base to eliminate the Leftist Agenda and to act at the State level to get rid of people who only serve their own interests.

  10. Went to a PFD lecture hosted by the folks at ALASKA Common Ground organization. There were about 25 people in attendance. Hardly any meaningful and representative number. Mostly geriatrics showed up. Canned questions occupied most of the meeting. At the end there were a few minutes where the audience could ask a few questions. Angel from Sen Geissel’s office and a Larry were responding to the questions as well as Brad Keithley. All were in favor of some flavor of an income tax. All except Brad wanted unlimited access to your PFD. They were absolutely absurdly ecstatic that we were having this conversation that they said would have never happened a couple years ago.

    The camel’s nose is under the tent folks. They were very confident that they would succeed in confiscating all of the PFD of not most of it in the next few years. No one seems to have any will to fight back. We keep electing nefarious and ill willed politicians like Sen Giessel. The meeting described above was an unmitigated disaster for the future of the PFD. At least your portion of it. No discussion about reigning in spending or cutting where possible.

    Just re read Dave Eastman’s comments. There is no discipline or fiscal responsibility among either party. I asked the question at the end of the meeting about how the legislature would know when they had taken enough of our money through taxation and PFD confiscation? Answer? They had no answer. They had no limit. Folks you heard it. Your apathy only whets the appetites of the political career builders and there is no limits on their time frame and ambition to crush your PFD. They said time and again they do not care about the middle to low income Alaskans who would be hurt worst. They actually said that they can spend your PFD in better ways than you Alaskans can. They actually said you don’t deserve the right to have a PFD. It ought to belong to the legislature who can appropriate the funds to projects that you will be so glad they funded for your benefit of course.

    The brazen hubris of Angela and Larry was remarkable to be sure. They said our formula for the PFD should be fluid and flexible and at the mercy of the legislature on a yearly basis after their budget is passed. We would get whatever is left over of any. There would be no stable formula enshrined in the Alaska Constitution in their ideal world. Truly Amazing.

  11. Thanks Massa’s, so deeply grateful for you to let us have a portion of the money we are entitled to. Glad to help the wealthy keep up their comfort of living. Kunta.

  12. It’s always interesting reading the posts regarding what the PFD should be and why it was set up the way it was. But one thing we seem to keep forgetting, the people we send to Juneau to legislate for us DO NOT CARE!

  13. Wow! A budget on time for once! I guess they figure that they’ll steal $500 off your PFD in trade for no over time per deim in Seattle er- Juneau.

    • Easy solution; stop allowing per diem from being tax exempt. David, submit a bill! A tax equalization tariff based on the amount and payment to the state for the expenses of an extended session.

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