Notes from RDC-Alliance breakfast: Giessel, Bishop dig into how to reduce Permanent Fund dividend

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At the Resource Development Council – Alaska Support Industry Alliance breakfast in Anchorage on Thursday, incoming Sen. Cathy Giessel and Sen. Click Bishop gave some of their thoughts on the upcoming session, as the featured speakers. The Legislature convenes on Jan. 17, and both Giessel and Bishop are part of the 17-member bipartisan majority in the 20-member Senate.

Giessel, who was briefly removed from office by her voters for two years, but who has now won back a seat in the Senate representing South Anchorage, spoke to these items:

  • There need to be changes to teacher retirement pensions, in order to recruit and retain qualified teachers.
  • The state should should also look at the retirement “hybrid plans” that have been proposed for public safety employees.
  • There are three state departments on the verge of being nonfunctional due to inability to hire.
  • The State should look at licensing requirements for private companies that are having trouble getting employees.
  • Childcare is an issue.
  • Energy: Hydrogen hub, hydro at Bradley Lake, Glacier Fork but it has to pencil out .
  • Carbon credits: She’s not sure what Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing is real. They won’t fill the fiscal gap.
  • Food security, livestock challenges.
  • Fisheries, she said salmon are moving north.
  • Caribou herds are decreasing. Fish and Game needs the funding.
  • Mental health and homeless will cost money.
  • Must bring the Permanent Fund dividend under control.
  • There are better ways to help people who need assistance than the Permanent Fund dividend.
  • The importance of protecting the Permanent Fund corpus.
  • She doesn’t want the “percent of market value” five percent draw changed.
  • She does not support taxes if there is a small enough dividend.
  • She opposes new taxes in Alaska.
  • There needs to be a rational approach to the dividend. She said people say the dividend can’t be touched but Alaska can’t afford that.

Sen. Click Bishop of Fairbanks made these points:

  • Alaska’s budget is $1 billion underwater for revenue from spring to fall forecasts.
  • The budget revenue projections is down $10 billion in both the Earnings Reserve Account and corpus.
  • He quoted how much we’ve “sent out the door” with dividends.
  • We need strong leadership for the state. 
  • He wants to pay cash for Dixon diversion hydro project on the Kenai.
  • 20 percent more hydro power up the line is phase one.
  • It cost $2.2 billion for a Wyoming nuclear plant but Susitna is $5.5 billion for less wattage.
  • He wants to build the dam or a new plant on the Railbelt.
  • He wants to use part of the dividend to pay for these projects.
  • He said Alaska needs cheap energy, not affordable energy.

Outgoing Sen. Natasha von Imhof asked from the audience: What’s the process of reallocating some of the dividend in the governor’s budget to some of the projects you mentioned?

Giessel did not really answer but said there won’t be abortion or gay marriage legislation.

Bishop said he sits on a Taft Hartley Trust board and “if I managed that money like the state manages its money …”

37 COMMENTS

  1. Bottom line:
    Giessel is a hater. Getting even with people she hates is her number one priority.
    Bishop doesn’t have the brain cells to derive any original thoughts. He’s a follower of other haters, trying to impress anyone he can.

    • Interesting observation of these two. What could Giessel possibly want to do with Bishop? Giessel is smart. Bishop…….not intellectually firing on all three cylinders. Giessel is using Bishop as a prop to advance her agenda, since Bishop sits on Finance. A relationship where the master directs the slave into the firing line. Dunleavy gets it.

  2. They’er going after your dividend check while at the same time won’t waver on the fact that state employees get free health care and retirement benefits from the state when private sector people do not get state benefits also while at the same time the private sector provides most of Alaska’s life necessity’s and services.

    • Yep.
      AK money has to go to our “public servants”.
      After all they are the ones who send the libs to Juno, so it’s only natural.

      And the best part?
      Once we hire a “servant” we put money into their bank account EVERY month until they pass away.
      And after they pass away?
      We put the money into the account of their spouse until they pass away.
      Great system, right?

  3. If 3 departments are struggling because of vacancies then this is the optimum time to merge some departments! Every department has a commissioner, one to three deputy commissioners, an administrative services director, a legislative liaison, etc. Mergers will free up some positions to spread the work load.

    Cutting the PFD for all Alaskans in order to increase public employee salaries and benefits will do absolutely NOTHING to build our economy, develop new industries, or help Alaskans working in the private sector. We have record state and municipal spending right now so please don’t tell us it’s the public sector that is struggling! Where is the economist that is telling these two legislators our problem is a too small public sector and a too large private sector? Who is Hell is telling these two senators that a large PFD is a problem?

    Now is exactly the worst possible time to talk about returning to defined benefit for state and municipal employees. Public sector wages are very high and getting higher, and defined benefit monthly retirement payments are based on salaries. Many PERS/TRS retired people already receive very nice six figure annual amounts but now state and city employees routinely make well over $200,000 per year, so future defined benefit amounts would accordingly be higher than any amounts paid by PERS and TRS today.

    Paying more to ADF&G will not increase the size of any caribou herd nor will it increase flagging salmon runs. Paying more to school administrators and teachers doesn’t seem to increase student performance on standardized tests: Isn’t that the right metric to use?

    The Hammond PFD formula worked well for Alaskans until Walker vetoed much of it. That is all the 2024 budget does; returns to the Hammond formula. Let’s have strong leadership to re-establish the formula that is still in state law! Leadership is not forgetting all about your constituents until you again need their vote. Every department and every dollar of spending has multiple lobbyists but the statutory PFD has no paid lobbyist.

    What about the belief that the Permanent Fund belongs to all Alaskans, not just public employees and people on the dole? The PFD was not established as the budget remainder! Walker’s PFD veto was not a license for legislators to cut the PFD forever. What about the belief that the PFD is not determined by what is left after legislators spend all they want on state operations and capital projects?

    On a positive note, new energy projects are a great idea. Rate payers can service any construction debt. It makes no sense to subsidize diesel plants throughout the state but then say we can’t have more efficient energy unless we can cut the PFD.

      • Thank you; you said what I was trying to say. Why is it that the focus of all three branches of state government, plus much of the Alaska media (not Ms. Downing, of course) is limited to how to maintain this huge amount of government we built when oil production was 4 times what it is today? Why do legislators have so little respect for the public and the private sector? Alaskans can get along very well with much less state and municipal government, and Governor Hammond said the PFD was intended to allow us to meet needs government would no longer be able to fund when the oil ran out. A smaller government footprint would suit Alaskans very well. Who brought Bernie Sanders to The Last Frontier?

        • I have some news for these legislators, no one can find people to hire. However one of the main reasons is competition from government, useless infrastructure projects to “create jobs” being one of them. Not to mention assistance from government to keep a large percentage of potential workers out of the job market. I have a suggestion for these guys, run a test to find out how many state workers quit their jobs to go to the private sector and see if they can find any.

    • Don’t let them fool you, all of the Highway, and Airport construction projects, are financed through Western Federal Highways or the FAA. The state only ponies up 10% of these projects. The waste is the amount of personnel which the AK DOT employes.

  4. Its showtime! Alleged Republicans already going after money owed to struggling Alaskans to fuel out of control government.

    After all, they know better.

    And notice there is zero mention of cutting bloated government spending.
    Why should they when they can take out?

    With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

  5. Also notice Giessel is discussing taxes. No taxes-if we get our way.
    One part threat, one part tipping the hand to the real goal. Income taxes.

    • Unfortunately since Walker started this dividend grab, we have essentially been paying a Income tax. You are correct, if they try and take the PFD and add a Income Tax, Alaska will no longer have a private sector due to migration out of state to a friendlier economy.

  6. All non state or government employees are going to lose the PFD and pay taxes if they don’t stand up and tell Juneau no. The PFD was not intended to be for a select few it was for every Alaskan to receive an equal part of state mineral wealth as prescribed by law. If we give in to the threat of taxes then we lose forever. A line in the sand needs to be established keep you hands off of the PFD you lying legislators.

  7. Want to really trigger an out migration? Bring on the income tax in the middle of the worst economy is 40 years.

    People are struggling as is. Reach deeper into their pockets to find a bloated, cronyistic state government, you’ll force a lot of people’s hands.

    But sometimes I wonder if that’s the point. To price the middle class out of Alaska.

  8. Good thing we sent a majority of Republicans to Juno ….. Not.

    Maybe we should stop trying, elect libs, let real workers leave state & go back to being a ward of the Federal Gov, like back in the good old (FDR) days.
    We already have the pot shops set up, so we’re ready to go.

  9. Tier 1 retirement is what they want for all state employees.. Going back to a defined retirement will break this state financially.

    • I don’t think that’s the goal of these people type. I think they want the
      remaining teir 1 employees retired, i heard from my relative, who is teir 1, no more teir1 status are given out. That season had been closed from my understanding.

  10. People, like giessal, these days lead and live as this life is good as it gets for them, just like The bible says let the evil-doers, be merry, drink, be a glutton under the sun, for when death comes, the good life is over. We could use no more changes to pfd, cause we’re a widow household. You know the
    bible also speaks to others do not enter the field of the widow and
    fatherless for their Redeemer is mighty and strong. That means you be better off not take anything from a woman and child w/o a husband/dad.

  11. I wouldn’t ask for strong leadership. it may bring narcisstic dictators. I’d ask for leaders, who fear God, and their leadership is a biblical reflection of isreal’s hero leaders led.

  12. Let’s remember one thing, the P-Fund’s purpose was to LIMIT government spending. This was it’s original intent. Now comes these Charlatans who are trying to make you believe a fairy tale and tap into the $ that was purposely put out of their reach. Oral Freeman must be rolling in his Grave!

    School funding and Salmon moving North indeed, what a bunch of Bravo Sierra. Mark my words, if you gave them the entire P-Fund, they would burn through it inside of 6 years and then come back and tax you for more $ to support their ridiculous ineffective programs.

    To Blazes with Click and Nurse Diesel!

  13. Giessel is indeed setting up to get Dunleavy. So when she was elected back in to Juneau I feared this would be the case. She is not searching for solutions, she is searching for revenge. I hope Dunleavy is prepared for four more years of struggle just to get anything done. Good luck, Big Mike!

  14. WOW!! It is way past time for term limits, these (Rank Choice) Thieves needed to be replaced long ago as they only work for the deep state (( dark Money )) donors that created a way to get reelected by changing the rules again!!! Think About It !!!! Time to change people,can you spell Murkowski !!! oh we can help you spell it !!! says an election official, always remember that most government employees count the votes and it seems that we have the same government all the time for some reason and they still have the same jobs, maybe we need term limits for Government employees too!!!

  15. A coalition of foxes have taken over henhouse security; rabid foxes. When they are done, Alaskans will be left with nothing but feathers.

  16. The gist of it – Geissel wants to take your PFD and fund the teacher’s union pension plan under the guise of recruiting more teachers even though most school districts are losing pupils.
    The other grifter, Bishop, wants to take your PFD and fund another boondoggle energy project where the public takes the risk, but the utilities take the profit! Classic con.

  17. Typical politician.
    Demanding increases in revenue, while rejecting any cuts in spending. In fact, these idiots are proposing increased spending, not cutting it.
    .
    If I were to go out and purchase a luxury item, then demand my boss give me a raise because I could not afford the payments, my boss would laugh in my face. How come politicians can do exactly that without repercussions? Because they have the legal authority to raise your taxes for their pet projects.
    .
    Time to stop it. Get involved.

  18. Legislators that support public employees get a penny or so of campaign dollars in campaign contributions. The unions PAY good money for their support!

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