House votes down statutory dividend, 21-19 - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, October 16, 2021
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House votes down statutory dividend, 21-19

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In a close vote, the Alaska House of Representatives today voted down an amendment to HB 3003 that would have funded the full statutorily required amount for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

House Republicans voted largely in favor of following the law, but there were four breakaways: Bart LeBon of Fairbanks, Kelly Merrick of Eagle River, and Steve Thompson of Fairbanks and James Kaufman of Anchorage voted with the Democrats.

Rep. David Eastman introduced the amendment for the full PFD. He was asking the question: Do you follow the law or just pick and choose an amount for political expedience?

Rep. Sara Rasmussen openly disagreed with the statutory PFD, saying it is unsustainable but in the end voted for it because it is the law that is on the books.

The last time the law was followed by the Legislature was in 2015. The statutory formula would mean about a $3,800 dividend this year.

The dividend fight, which was tense at times with Speaker Louise Stutes calling Republicans our of order, took place just before she made a hasty decision to recess to the “call of the chair.”

Some Republicans said they would be happy with the 50-50 plan for the dividend, as proposed by the governor, but not until passage of the governor’s bill to allow the people of Alaska to vote on a constitutional amendment solidifying the 50-50 plan going forward.

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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

  • This should get interesting. Do we bankrupt the state for a PFD, or do we kick the can down the road until there’s no road left, or do we…whatever.
    What the heck can you say to the “It’s MY Money” crowd that will satisfy them? Nuttin’, Honey, nuttin’.

    • You can say to them “ some people just will not follow the law no matter how plainly it’s written” !!

    • Well the people of Alaska can just vote the no’s out, Merrick is pretty much gone, maybe inconsistent Rasmussen is gone. 2 down and 19 more to boot closer to a legislature that follows the law. Hopefully Alaska keeps a Governor who follows the law and maintain the 19 yes votes.

      Its not about the PFD. it’s about relearning how to follow the law, and generations working with what the state produces spending what they earn through it’s own businesses not spending down the parent generations savings. Paying the state’s bills while it stifles business growth and natural resource development, while using the dead parents savings to pay the bills. This is not what the parent generation had in mind for creating saving accounts for a rainy day. Government isnt supposed to be larger than the private sector.

      • Mike Dunleavy has done NOTHING. Record low PFDS on his watch. He could have stood firm and demanded a full statutory PFD but instead he caved to the RINO/Communist Caucus and signed the budget. Why does he never fight?

      • Also, Merrick is here to stay (just like Lisa) thanks to Dominion and Ballot 2 fraud

        • No, Merrick is gone, the good people of Eagle River will see to that.

          • Voter fraud would disagree

    • The state bankrupted the state. Just look at the history of Alaska government spending for the last 20 or so years.

      As a compromise, some of us were willing to change the law for Dunleavy’s idea, but we do ask to be empowered over our own money so the blatant theft we’ve suffered over the last 6 years never occurs again.

  • The Democrats want the money, pure and simple. They love government spending and want to use it to fund their special committees, special projects, and other uses that benefit them. Sad to see.

    • $83 BILLION in the fund. Covid. People need the money…..NOW.
      The economic stimulus from an infusion of cash into the consumer economy will be a welcome reprieve for small businesses. You big government Democrats are all STUPID.
      .
      Thompson and LaBon of Fairbanks pulled this same crap last year and promised they would stick with your Party. LIARS!

      • Thompson and LeBon are the sleeper rhinos who help out in case democrats lose a few seats/votes. Unlike Merrick, they don’t declare their love for communism until it is necessary. I wonder how many other secret socialists are in the legislature…

  • All Alaskans who are eligible we should all average a dividend check of about $3500.00 yearly. It is a fact 100% percent. In fact if I was a politician of integrity our capital would of been moved very closer to us all long long ago the pork vacation with no accomplishments for Alaskans days are over for lack of integrity politicians. $3500 a year average please please all research this and vote the old clowns out till we find politicians with Alaska’s constitution and it’s citizens come first. Lack of integrity politicians got us all here change change change time must be at hand enough please enough here.

  • Political theater. Not related to what will happen in the end.

  • Laws are for little people. Not the Alaska politburo. But God help the little people if they break a law.

    Remember this, Alaska. Remember well. It’s not been the Democrats who screwed you over. It’s the Republicans. Feckless cowards, political whores, and blonde party girls who continually give the left all the power they need.

    Want to save Alaska? Simple. Destroy the GOP. Burn it and damn near everyone in it to the ground. Take the few worth keeping a form a genuine Conservative Party.

    • The Alaska GOP is without a doubt the dumbest and weakest Republican chapter in the entire country. I got my hopes up with Dunleavy but he turned out to be spineless, and failed to fight for the PFD. The legislature is controlled by genuine RINOs like Bert Stedman and Louise Stutes. We need to found a true America FIRST party and smoke out the turncoats

    • Oh it’s the blondes? No. It’s the Dems who think the people just need to be ruled by sozializts and sticks the CDC recognizes as often incorrect jabbed up the nose of Americans. Not good.

  • Lose the dividend and say hi to a sales tax, you can’t feed the monster enough and we just allow it to happen. Taking control of the educational system was the smartest thing they ever did.
    “Our whole educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities, is increasingly turning out people who have never heard enough conflicting arguments to develop the skills and discipline required to produce a coherent analysis based on logic and evidence.” Thomas Sowell

  • Great. Idiots.

  • Good old Kelly Merrick. Always a reliable communist vote, even more than the “independent” Rep Patkotak

    • To an outside observer it looks like Kelly Merrick’s only interest is a large construction budget for Joey and Vince. One could argue that she has a conflict of interest here…..

  • Sad to see even 4 Republicans following the democrats on this. The State has the money to fulfill the law and still fund what most Legislators want. All of the reasoning behind breaking the law to limit the PFD that I have seen to date is just stupid. It’s the people’s money legislature – STOP STEALING FROM US. “But it’s not stealing,” I’ve heard prominent legislators say – what else do you call taking something belonging to someone else without permission? Put it to a vote of the people or face a constitutional convention.

  • Too bad we have so many uninformed voters in the cities and Bush. If you ask them who is blocking your PFD, I’ll bet they answer “republicans”.

  • The govèrnor’s plan will work excellent.

  • Bankrupt the state with $82 billion in the account just waiting to be spent by the legislators and their special interest group? I thought for over 30 years the pfd was a separate fund that was paid out every year base on a five year return and was never part of the state budget until Walker stole the money from Alaskan’s pocket and stuff it away for future use. Haven’t heard the arguments that paying out the statutory pfd was going to bankrupt the state until the five year average of the pfd fund started growing and the pfd payout amount started growing bigger. Maybe these pet projects and entitlement programs that keeps growing every year is what’s going to bankrupt the state? Just maybe…..

    • You’re not wrong.

      • Can you please explain how “It’s my money” Crowd is wrong?
        That is how I have always understood it also. The PFD was a five year average, and some went to the state to be spent and some went to Alaskans until Walker took a portion of what was supposed to go to Alaskans as the PFD.
        Plus, if the money is actually there, then how will this “bankrupt” the state to pay out what was supposed to go to a certain place from the very beginning?

    • You are correct. The PFD was always a separate fund that simply transferred funds through the state to the people. For ages legislators have lusted after that money until finally Walker put his weasel lawyer thinking cap on, his friends at court backed him up (probably hoping for a bigger budget) and voila here we are. I am convinced that Walker’s intentions for the vetoed money wasn’t a rainy day but a convenient cash pool for this pipeline.
      I am therefor a proponent of the Makey Plan. Split the $83 billion in half and give half to the legislature and payout the rest to the people. The stipulation is that they make government work with the income they get from royalties and interest on their share of the fund. No personal income tax may be instituted without a 2/3 majority vote of the people.

  • Blow the entire Permanent Fund and bring back the state income tax and School Tax and our population would crash by at least 15%, and probably much more.
    It’s starting to look like s good idea……..

  • 80 billion in the hands of OUR government . Whomever votes against a full dividend payout should get ready to pack ! Along with Dunleavy .

  • There’s the list of names of Marie Antoinette adherents.

  • The Republicans “largely” voted to follow the law….. Guess it’s hit and miss at best, and fully contrary to statute normaly.
    Remarkable leading by example. At least the Democrats never disappoint by going full roughshod over laws, decency, logic and citizens’ interest. Just straight up political prostitution for the State employee unions.

  • Now the people know who to vote out of office.

  • Also I love how you didn’t even bother listing Stutes as one of the Republicans to vote against the bill. She does not have a Republican bone in her body!

  • All who voted against following their law directing the distribution as defined by statute do not care for the people they represent. They don’t. Why not vote each one of them out? They malign Alaskans and work if you could cull it that against Alaskan fiduciary interests. They need to not be alleged “representatives” of those they disrespect and actively hate.

  • Merrick is true to her inner self a Democrat. Only issue with her is her Pro Life stand. Unfortunately you cannot be a Dem in today’s world and Pro Life. Hence RINO’s. Only mistake Eagle River made was believing a aging RINO. Nothing will add gray hair faster than bold face lying to hundreds. One look at Merrick and it shows, she looks Terrible.

  • “Rasmussen openly disagreed with the statutory PFD, saying it is unsustainable”

    In what way is the statutory PFD “unsustainable”? The PFD is paid from the EARNINGS from the fund. It’s money that’s already in the bank. We’re just fighting over how to divide it up.

    The only “unsustainable” thing is the growing size of government. The Fund earnings are supposed to be split 50/50 with the state and the people. The state spent its 50% and now it wants ours too.

    THAT is unsustainable.

  • Keep bringing the statutory PFD up for another vote Until it passes.
    The real issue here is do we follow the law or not. Seems Sarah Rasmussen has gotten a conscience, maybe the rest of the legislatures will get a conscious too.
    Let’s start following the law, and if it needs to be changed then change the law but until then follow the law.

  • We all knew the PfD was over after walker. We’ve been fleeced by communists again.

  • Drive at whatever speed you like.
    Shoplift what you want.

    Why not?

    The lawlesslature has no respect for state statutes so why should any of we the peons?

  • Twenty one (21) bylaw breakers need to be voted out immediately or removed for cause. “We don’t feel like making the distribution to you and so we won’t.” Here’s a responsive concept “You can’t make us vote for you EVER AGAIN!” Get lost. Do not speak to us ever again!

  • It is past time for LeBon & Thompson to be replaced!

  • Each district should petition the legislature for our grievance against THE TWENTY ONE asking for them to be sent home immediately and the Governor appoint new representatives.That is the process is that is now due. The legislature and Judiciary may not alter our process; only to declare it again! ALL political power is inherent in the people. Perhaps we shall have to function with a smaller provisional government in the meantime. They receive their just power under consent. If the bylaw says we do distribution by a formula and we don’t but do something else; what’s that about? State government should never offend the rights of the people or to delay rights. That is not just. If you are hired to fry french fries and you refuse to fry what then? They have received a sizable gain to “fry”. Can we pay them to do one thing and them do another? Tardy also? It is mandatory for them to support the bylaws not dictate to the people what will be on the table. Saying one thing to get elected and doing another is trickery. The specific purpose of the bylaw is to distribute that amount to the people. Trickery doesn’t void. The bylaw was adopted and not by trickery. I believe they are acting like paternal monarchs in Juneau. They can’t BE executives as legislators. They are on the clock to act in DEFENSE of our property interests rights. Are they “infringing” on those rights instead? They don’t have special rights to do damage to us and our communities. They can’t be in conflict with our rights. This is not a judicial problem. This is a political problem. They have no executive authority to be released from. Our unalienable rights are the law. Everything else is fraud or is it a corporate ponzi scheme? We need new candidates ASAP I believe.

  • They all went into the back room after the floor session with a sigh of relief. “That was a close one , we almost paid out the full statutory dividend”!!! “Next time let’s not make it that close” they said to one another. And in the end the special interest wins and Alaskans loose. End of story……

  • Why is it called “statutory” amount anyway? If it is in a statute, then shouldn’t that be followed?

  • Recall Kelly Merrick

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