It's complicated: Will it be the $1K PFD in Senate, or zero dividend from House? - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomePoliticsIt’s complicated: Will it be the $1K PFD in Senate, or zero dividend from House?

It’s complicated: Will it be the $1K PFD in Senate, or zero dividend from House?

The Senate Finance Committee is sending to the Senate floor a $1,000 Permanent Fund dividend proposal, yet another arbitrarily determined amount that has nothing to do with is calculated by Alaska Statute. The Senate will meet and wrangle that amount during what is surely to be a lengthy floor session on Wednesday.

But the $1,000 Senate dividend and the zero-amount dividend from the House of Representatives’ means that the final dividend probably will be determined by conference committee. Will they split the difference and make it a $500 dividend?

In other words, once again Alaskans will watch their Legislature pick an arbitrary number out of a hat for the Permanent Fund dividend, something the Legislature has done since Gov. Bill Walker made it a fad in 2016, destroying the traditional formula in law.

Wednesday’s Senate debate will be over the behemoth operating budget that has been combined with the capital budget and the Permanent Fund dividend into a 150-page document that Sen. Natasha Von Imhof dubbed a “turducken”: A chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey. For many legislators, they’ll have to pass the budget to see what’s in the budget. It’s big, and with many moving parts.

How the goose comes out of the oven on Thursday will say a lot about how the Senate will approach the special session called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy for the very next day to work on a constitutional amendment that would allow the people of Alaska to vote on locking down the PFD formula once and for all. Dunleavy’s proposal would end the yearly extended fights over the PFD, and keep it from being held hostage.

Dunleavy’s proposal, by its very definition, would also not allow an overdraw of the earnings reserve account, but some in the Legislature want to tie this PFD decision to a tax or two, and there’s the rub. Will legislators say they don’t have enough time to figure this all out?

Alaskans will see whether legislators are serious about handling the PFD question now that they have a viable alternative in front of them, and take up the revenue question later; or will they just gavel in and go home without considering the governor’s proposal? Will the 50-50 PFD split proposal get pocket vetoed?

Wednesday will prove to be a long day for both the House and the Senate. But rarely, if ever, in Alaska history has the entire package — Operating, Capital, and PFD — been left to the 11th hour on the 121st day.

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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 hope that Dunleavy’s proposal makes it into our constitution and these money grubbers can go eat their turducken.

  • PFD=universal income

  • When will the people of Alaska say, “enough is enough” and bring a lawsuit against the state of Alaska. They signed away their mineral rights with the agreement that ALL Alaskans get a dividend of the State’s mineral resources profits. Now, some 40yrs later, the state is trying to reneg on this agreement. When the state made the deal, 1977, the fund had less than 800,000 in it. Now there is almost 60 billion in the fund and still the state acts like the paltry dividend’s original formula is going to break the bank!! This is outrageous and it’s time that Alaskan’s, all of them, unify and take the state to task!!

  • One thousand $dollars from the Senate Finance Committee? I thought they were Republicans. Pull out the veto pen, governor.

  • Pull out the Veto pen, Mike .. this is a ridiculous debacle…………They all need to go. It’s time to clean up Alaska Government

  • Conservatives rage against social payments such as those proposed by Biden’s current plans. Yet when it comes to the PFD, which is essentially the same thing, more is never enough. Such hypocrisy.

    And no, it’s not really a dividend for funds/effort Alaskans have personally invested. That argument is a smokescreen intended to convince people that PFDs are somehow actually “deserved”. It’s a handout, and nothing more.

    If the statutory formula is no longer affordable, well, then it’s time to change the formula and stop using it as camouflage to hide the greed of those demanding ridiculously high payments. The “PFD as birthright” mentality that has taken hold in the State is deplorable, and I’m sure that Jay Hammond would be utterly disgusted by it, were he still around.

  • This is completely unacceptable and truly shows that Alaskans must speak up!

    This is coming from both sides of the aisle, a bipartisan attack on money that has a formula for distribution!
    Audit every department and issue pink slips!
    What are they doing with the extra funds, plus a war chest that the PFD already has?!
    Also, these special sessions come with a price tag that we shouldn’t have to pay! Do your job in the time you have been given! Work overtime!

  • Have you really been listening to America? The common sentiments are “We’re so screwed” “The commies have won” “America as we knew it is lost”.
    Half of all Americans are voting for commies now. Make some serious moves, or learn to live under commie mafia..

  • It IS time Alaskans said enough is
    Enough! To ALL OF OUR LEGISLATORS: It is time for the adults in the room stood up for what is right and QUIT allowing those children in our government to throw temper tantrums to get their way. It is time to start running our government like a business, not a charity. NOT every program is good for our state. I am sure there are adults out there who are fully capable of making those hard choices and dealing with them openly. If we don’t take care of this problem in our legislature NOW, we going to be fighting this battle years dow the road. Get out, talk to your reps and senators, make them toe the mark and do what is right, not what is easy!!

  • We should be “thankful” for such a paltry amount and we can’t be trusted to spend our full statutory amount (as calculated by the original formula, not some POMV) by ourselves. Time for new blood in Juneau next election cycle.

  • We keep electing these liars and cheats! We get what we deserve because we do not hold their feet to the fire when the Juneau water begins to change them.

  • When any discussion of modifying overly generous pension plans for former state employees, the Legislature always comes back with, ” can’t do it, it’s written in Statute”, but when it comes to honoring the statutory formula for the PFD they fall over themselves with excuses as to why they have to screw ordinary Alaskans!

  • They should just do away with the PFD altogether. Take $30 billion of it and give each person eligible for it, based on the number of years that they have been receiving i,t a nice check and leave it at that. The state takes control of the other $30 billion.

  • They can’t give up that sweet sweet revenue train. I swear. It doesn’t necessarily effect me if the PFD goes away, I grew up in a state that didn’t have one(though I’m very sure they could have done something similar given how prosperous they claim to be). However, it is very very dumb that the politicians refuse to follow the law put forth given at how record breaking the fund has become in terms of reserves. I thought this was going to be a constitutional amendment put on a ballot initiative? I suppose I shouldn’t have been so hopeful. Politics as usual and of course they’ll just rationalize it because again, they don’t believe the Tax Payers are the rightful owners of that money. Somewhere down the line they’ve convinced themselves we work for them and not the other way around.

  • They won’t let go of all that money. Somewhere down the line they convinced themselves we work for them and not the other way around.

  • They wont stop till its gone.
    2 ideas.
    1. State income tax 25% for non residence. 10% for all residence no exceptions. This will open jobs for Alaskans
    2. Move the State legislator sessions to a retired State Ferry and have it cruse form Ketchikan to kotzebue each summer.

  • Gov. Mike Dunleavy for the very next day to work on a constitutional amendment that would allow the people of Alaska to vote on locking down the PFD formula once and for all.

    What is he talking about, there’s already a LAW on the books. On how to calculate the amount for our PFD.
    How stupid are these legislators, it’s our money not there’s

  • Why state income taxes. And before anyone tells me the oil workers that lives out of state and work in Alaska should be taxed. What about the folks who don’t work but lives in Alaska and uses Alaska services? Should they not pay taxes for using those services? That’s why I think before the state income taxes is implemented we should go ahead with a state sales taxes. This is the only tax I’ll support because everyone would be paying taxes not only the one with a paycheck. Less incentive to work if the government wants more of your money in my opinion.

  • Guess you have to be a donor to get your comments to stay posted eh?

  • Yes I agree if your going to be Taxed a sales tax gets everyone!

  • AK WOLF: You are a donor. Your comments help show that MRAK has a reader base, which draws advertising revenue.
    I donate a couple hundred every year now, but Suzanne has no problem round filing some of my comments whenever I get too full of myself.

  • Wolf, no you don’t. Just have to have something to say that is relevant.

  • If I still cared a damn I’d be disgusted. But I’ve become so numb to this I can’t bring myself to care anymore.

    Our fate was sealed when the Cowardly Lion wet himself In Wasilla. Since then the most action by Dunleavy has been against Reinbold, a non entity in political matters.

    We’re not screwed. It’s beyond that.

  • Is there a list of the Senate Republicans voting for this $1,000?

  • Just give every citizen of the State, which are shareholders, a settlement of the amount that is there now? Stop the fighting to get money the State still owes us from past withheld PFDs and stop the bickering of trying to limit the portion due us in the future. The lump sum pay out would stop the whole issue. That is right now the only way I will be able to keep my property that is in tax foreclosure thanks to the money they owe me and all the other steak holders in Alaska.

  • Dog, your argument is ridiculous, the dividend at one point was given to Alaskans as our share of the states wealth, as we the residents who work here, live here, spend here and help the state prosper are allotted to share in the fruit as we share in the toil. It’s not a handout anymore than a tax return is a handout, however if you don’t like the dividend as much as you seem then don’t take one…..

  • Hey Whidbey, do you know why Alaskans get the PFD? Probably not. It is because the mineral rights were all required to be owned by the State. Part of the deal for AK to become a State. So to compensate the people of Alaska for not being able to own mineral rights, we get the PFD. Is it socialism, kind of. Or is it compensation for having stolen from us as landowners.

  • Veto the whole budget until the private sector is provided an equal portion at the table. 50-50 or no deal.

    Anything more is stealing and they have been reallocating and taking our hard earned cares act money as well as holding themselves harmless during a pandemic and they all still got a paycheck. Yes I am talking about the government we pay too much for. Full PFD or no deal.
    Until we get an equivalent deal that they the public sector has taken from us.

  • Love listening to the lefties try and justify taking away our mineral rights, and our PFD because they say it’s welfare and we conservatives don’t believe in welfare.. these are the people, that virtue signal, when they steal from their neighbors, but never open their own pockets for the myriad of misguided causes the want the rest of us to pay for.. like killing babies, mutilating children, giving bombs to jihadis, teaching our kids to hate their country, giving our jobs to the Chi-Comms.. on and on- and all done by stealing from the guy next to them. It’s never enough for them to just write a check- no- they never do- they have to steal from you and then crow as if they are saving the world. Well how’s this: all the lefty virtue signalers can GIVE THEIR PFD AWAY. That’s right- pick your cause. Whether it’s murdering the unborn in the womb, or murdering a bunch of people in a pizzeria in Jerusalem, you get to pick. It’s YOUR money. But the next time you want to fund human trafficking or pay the CCP to funnel meth over our southern border? How about you do it with YOUR money, and keep your hands off OUR PFD?

  • Yeah!! The formula from 1K to $500 was Stedman’s idea with Click Bishop looking on. They need a recall from their districts. The whole Senate Finance committee is responsible for the deep debt and waste spending for the last twenty years. Every year its the same game with Stedman and buddies. He is out there slapping backs and checking out his buddy system in the good ole boys club. His ideas need to go and so should the whole committee.

  • The debate about how much everyone should get for living in Alaska is always interesting.

    Look at some facts.

    Alaskans and visiting workers pay no taxes to the State of Alaska

    Many pay no sales taxes

    Many pay no property taxes

    State wide sales tax will not work unless the system compensates the communities that do have a sales tax.

    Property taxes support the community not the State.

    A large percentage of property taxes are actually paid by business, big box stores, banks, large property owners.

    In many locations in Alaska there is not enough taxes and very little economy to support the schools, the States pays those bills.

    We all know that the majority of infrastructure in Alaska outside of the communities and many in the communities is paid for by the State. If you want a improve your airport or harbor the chances are you will need a grant from the State to do it.

    There is a little bit of fuel taxes collected but again the majority of the road repairs are paid for by the State.

    Considering the low taxation rate in Alaska even without the PFD Alaska is a great deal.

  • Harborguy:
    Considering moving to CA where you can bitch and moan with the Lefties, and then move again to NV, with all your bitching and moaning communist relatives.

  • Harbor Guy, you are so right. And when you factor in an annual PFD offset, the real individual tax burden in the State is reduced even further. Alaska has been, and remains, the least-taxed State in the Union. So I have very little sympathy for those who, as part of what has become an annual Alaskan tradition, complain about the paltry size of their dividend and demand ever more. It’s embarrassing, sickening, and disgusting all at the same time.

    For being hardcore Conservatives who oppose social support payments, and “Socialism” in general (as they mistakenly define it), they sure do love their free money, and all of the great programs, facilities, and services provided by the State of Alaska.

    What a sorry state of affairs.

  • HarborGuy – it might surprise you that Alaska is in the top twenty for highest property taxes in the nation. Unfortunately, there are too many grifters and freeloaders in Alaska who pay not a cent of property taxes even on their million dollar lodges. Don’t give me the BS about many areas don’t have an economic base to support property taxes. Many years ago I owned a remote parcel of land on Raspberry Island. The only way to access the property was by boat or plane and there were no Borough services provided, yet every year I wrote a check to the Kodiak Island Borough for property taxes! I still own remote property on the Kenai Peninsula with no road access, no electricity and no Borough services but still fork out property taxes and service area fees. We have a spineless Legislature that still allows some lucky/connected residents to keep their half million dollar floatplane in front of their half million dollar house and not pay a dime in property taxes!

  • We know in most cases property taxes are figure on the value of the property. To be the in the to 20 for the highest for property taxes you must be referring to the mill rate. Since property taxes are a city or county or in Alaska case Borough’s issue than to be in the top 20 compared to more populated state that is really something.

    If there is not a taxing structure to charge lodge owners for property ie a town or borough than it is not the fault of the lodge owner.

    You are correct only the legislature can create a taxing structure if the locals will not.

  • Harborgal

    your post makes no sense.

  • Who was here when this PFD was enacted? Then you know title passing from federal to state to private does not have mineral rights attached. That is was a “taking of private property RIGHT” which ha a correlative duty imposed by justice and cfr 49 to first evaluate the taking codified in statutory PFD codified by the peoples representatives in statutory distribution in enactment.

    Property passing from federal title directly to private (ANCSA and Federal Homestead are not subject). So newcimbers representing their countrymen should resign if they believe the government can take property rights for free in controversion of CFR 49 Settled law. What is required for taking of any property right is: appraisal of value, negotiation, agreement/ contract and payment BEFORE taking the right. The state has proffessional rights of way takers that understand the due process required with files kept to professional standards no exceptions. Legislators, bloggers and the public in general may not understand this very thick code of federal regulations. Since the libs from around the world and other states forbid any further development in Alaska please reattach the mineral rights to all private fee title in Alaska. It’s really only two percent of the land mass in private fee title. Otherwise pay up!

  • Of course there is a bright side. If we reattach mineral rights that will be an opportunity for a new contractor to receive crony cash. A new administrative flow of cash to a political crony over several decades. State employees at DNR would NEVER be able to do it in several lifetimes. After this project is completed development in Alaska will begin like a hardy crop of dandelions. And private, familial wealth will begin to appear – the whole idea that was thwarted by foreign socialists shortly after “statehood” though there is no treaty for overland investors through socialist Canada any longer and never will be reinstituted due to elevation of innovative health agencies interventions as never seen before on the planet.

  • THe left leaning legal practitioners would really rather this side of the topic never be spoken of in polite and impolite company (Legal Maxim: The belligerant man has his rights). It is preferred that moderate and socially well managed men continue to scratch their heads forever in confusion over these arrays of enmeshed matters. BTW “we don’t DO ANILCA” assured a Alaska DNR Land Officer recently. Imagine that. Just a federal suggestion. 😳🎺Hear hear. So many attendant futile “topics” foreclosed by the gentle left.

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