No PFD bill yet, but a 'task force' is forming to study payout formula - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 22, 2019
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No PFD bill yet, but a ‘task force’ is forming to study payout formula

The Alaska House of Representatives, over the objections of the Republican Minority, agreed to a resolution to form up a task force that will look at restructuring the formula for how the Permanent Fund dividend is paid in future years. The vote went along caucus lines, with Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux voting with the minority Republicans.

Although the Democrat-led majority clearly had the votes, its leaders still made passionate arguments for the task force. At one point, Rep. Tammie Wilson, who joined with the Democrats in February, told the Republican minority to get over their “paranoia” and get on board with the task force concept, like she had. “Come on, guys,” she prodded them.

Rules Chair Chuck Kopp let his emotions get the better of him when he upbraided the minority, saying that if there is no change to the Permanent Fund dividend payout formula, there will be no dividend at all by 2025. He called for his fellow lawmakers to lead their constituents. His speech reflected the passionate opinions that the dividend program brings out in Alaskans.

“You don’t follow out of fear of people who are screaming who don’t have accurate information. Mr. Speaker, I’m all about leading, and I will give my constituents the truth and I invite them to not support me if they want to believe something else,” Kopp boomed.

The task force would be controlled through appointments by the House Speaker and Senate President. Minority members argued that giving two people in the entire the Legislature the power to form up a task force for the purpose of recommending a new dividend structure to the Legislature was blatant attempt to predetermine the outcome.

Rep. Laddie Shaw noted that the House already has a task force — it’s called the Finance Committee, and that’s where the work was supposed to be done over the past 145 days that the Legislature has been in session, extended session, and special session.

But there’s likely another reason the House didn’t take up the Permanent Fund dividend bill today, but just voted on a resolution to form a task force to study the dividend.

Those in the Legislature who see the need to trim back the statutory formula are also those who want to be in a position to override the vetoes the governor will certainly make to the operating budget, which passed the House today and will likely pass the Senate on Monday.

The next couple of weeks will be a game of three-dimensional chess between members of the Legislature who want bigger spending and smaller dividends, and a governor who first and foremost is trying to reestablish trust that people have in their government by making good on his promise to restore the PFD.

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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

  • What Kopp means, I believe, is that there will be no PFD by 2025 if no new “formula” for payout of the PFD is enacted, and the dims keep stealing it, there will be none by then. The original, correct, intended “formula” takes into account the possibility of falling revenues to fund the PFD. It’s self correcting and perpetuating. The original framers of the PFD took into consideration that possibility and calculated the real, original formula to accommodate that possibility. Of course the original, legitimate formula did not take into consideration, the State legislature stealing the PFD for their own socialist agenda. With the theft of the PFD continuing like they want, of course there will be none left “before” 2025. As far as Tammie Wilson is concerned, it’s “CYOA”. (Old term for “cover your own a_s”)

    “When the strongbox contains no more, both friends and flatterers shun the door”. (Plutarch)

  • This Entire Legislative session has been just One Bad Joke After Another..

  • Task force? How about they call it the “Farce force?”

    The governor needs to spank these children and send them to bed without supper.

  • Wait, wait, wait; since when do representatives “lead” constituents. Isn’t it the other way around?

  • Force them to convene in Wasilla, and face the wrath of the people, who voted for them. (I feel fortunate to be in District 10, where we have upstanding reps – David Eastman & Mike Shower) – but bring the Anchorage (so-called Republicans) and all the other RINOs, where we can face them.

  • What a joke! I’m so sad to see/hear the work of our “leaders”. It’s time to clean house… I’m noting what needs to go in my district. I hope others are doing the same.

  • We have a better idea. Let’s have a citizens’s task force come up with a plan to start plucking the weeds and sticker bushes out of this legislative session. Start with Tammy Wilson, who has been a pain in the a$$ since the start. They all should have been handed pink slips back in February. The legislature is the biggest joke in the state.

  • I think we need a study of all the studys. How much a year do we spend on studys? Where does the money for studys come from? They can’t budget for them so there is money they have to spend that is not in the budget. How does that work?

  • Just curious, is there a year when the legislators didn’t try to change the PFD?…….

  • I’m using the Trump tactic, on negative nicknames. Ugly Chuck. His ugly, unbridled attacks are beyond the pale.
    His comment that he is the “leader” of the voters, really hit a cord with me! We The People are the leaders, we vote and we want our reps to follow what we want. That means we lead, not Ugly Chuck! Sad part of that though is we have voters who are “lead by the nose” by the likes of Ugly Chuck. We must get out and vote and over-ride those sheep with a real conservative to follow the law and follow what we want, conservative values, principles!

  • Sure, but you’re talking pre-Walker

  • Doesn’t matter… Inflation is washing out more money then the interest collected. So the fund can only grow so big before it implodes. Wiping out 10s of billions. We are actually putting in less and less value into the pfd. Sure it’s more money but that money buys less and less. The fund is too big. Inflation is a tax. 1T a year in new debt… USA spends so other economies can function. Saving money is not a investment. What can $1500 get you in now compared to 1980s. It’s like $500 in the 1980s. So we’ve already went full circle and we are on the high side and it will drop a lot.

  • It appears that it’s time again for another advisory vote , in next years primary! Make them commit if they don’t then vote them out! Meanwhile we all suffer together….

  • More lies. The payments come off the income only. The formula is there in LAW, but they have been getting 80% of the dividend income and don’t want to give it up. They need to go back to getting 50% like Dunleavy wants. Waaaaaaaa.

  • After watching the legislature for over 50 years I am convinced the only way to keep them from spending our money is to take it away from them. Either transfer all the savings into the permanent fund where they can’t get to it or pass it out as dividends or both. We spend more money per citizen than any state in the union and what do we get for it?

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