Rep. Geran Tarr: The $525 PFD is a type of systemic racism

Rep. Geran Tarr protesting the Legislature, where she serves in the House majority.

East Anchorage Democrat Rep. Geran Tarr unloaded on Facebook about the possible $525 Permanent Fund dividend the Conference Committee of the Legislature has threatened. She doesn’t like being held hostage, and she says it’s a form of systemic racism against the poor in her district.

“Oh, great. Because manipulation is such an effective tool for bipartisan cooperation. This is so disappointing. Instead of actually trying to work together in a bipartisan way budget negotiators have chosen to try and strong arm the House Republicans into a three-quarter vote. … I’m convinced my colleagues won’t be satisfied until they have taken every last penny from the poor children I represent,” she wrote on Facebook.

Tarr, one of the most far-left legislators in Juneau, predicted that the governor will veto a $500 PFD and force the Legislature to take up the matter again in an August special session.

“For me, what is so hard is I thought Democrats stood for working people for poor people, and these unfair and unjust proposals just perpetuate systemic racism and poverty. My colleagues have so little respect for me and the 18,000 people I represent they completely ignore the needs of my district. One group will be happy with this: the very wealthy people in the Privileged People’s Club, oops, I mean the legislature,” Tarr wrote.

The legislator was referring to the Conference Committee’s hardline tactic to force a majority to vote on the budget, accessing the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and the sweep process for unused funds from last year, called the reverse sweep.

Her comments will challenge others representing lower-income Alaskans as the House and Senate face a vote as early as Monday night on the budget compromise offered from Conference Committee.

For details, read our earlier report: Conference Committee sets PFD at $525 or $1,100, depending.


  1. This is not systemic racism; focus on creating jobs in your district instead of blaming government for your constituents being poor.

  2. The last gasp of a desperate progressive is to cry ‘racism’. If she truly cared about her constituents she would advocate policies of development and jobs to help them break the cycle of poverty, rather than policies of handouts and dependence to perpetuate it. But their growing growing addiction to government handouts is what keeps her in the Privileged People’s Club while her constituents languish with just enough to get by but never enough to get ahead, just like racist LBJ envisioned.

  3. Just another perverse example of the Dividend poisoning every aspect of the Legislative process.
    Tarr undoubtedly would vote to tax us to sustain a socialist redistribution of wealth – once unthinkable in the USA.
    Dunleavy, on the other hand, seeks to strangle the government by taking away 50% of the POMV for the Budget. The end result forcing massive cuts to State services or massive taxes to sustain them. By attempting to put the Dividend into the Constitution, Dunleavy supports universal basic income – also a Socialist concept.
    This entire fiasco is what I call the Deficit Dividend Dysfunction.
    And as I predicted, the Legislature is manipulating the Covid relief funds to make it appear that the budget balances – when it doesn’t. And yet we still need to “borrow” more money from the CBR.
    It is travesty piled upon travesty piled upon travesty. All caused by the Dividend, or more accurately by all the false narratives, political cynicism, unconstitutional ideas and fiduciary malpractice surrounding the Dividend. Peace. Out.

  4. German Tarr
    What about my PFD your taking away from me and many others.
    Remember it’s the LAW.
    Vote to give us are full PFD, that way your people you represent will get more money.
    So Your The One, taking money from your people.
    Open your eyes.

  5. Representative Tarr alleges the budget tactics of the legislature are motivated by racism. It seems pretty much everything in our culture, one way or another, involves racism. As this fact becomes a completely accepted normality it will no longer be newsworthy.

  6. I wouldn’t call it Systemic Racism. I’d call it just greed.

    The people legislators are serving are just greedy. Too bad the legislators can’t print a list of their sponsors, so the public can go heckle the correct peoples for their strong arming Alaska districts representation.

    I’d really dislike seeing another special session. August is so far away to wait! Just decide on a $2,400-$3,200 dollar dividend and be done with it and enjoy what’s left of the summer.

  7. If you want to get some money circulating in the economy, there’s really no better way than getting more money to people who will spend all of it, and those people are mostly the poor. A combination of a higher PFD and a graduated income tax would accomplish that. Pay out the dividend to everyone who qualifies and institute a GIT on higher income people who can afford to replace the money spent on the PFD. It’s not about race, it’s about money.
    The state GOP seems stuck in the cut spending rut, which will only further impoverish the state because we either won’t be able to get competent workers or they will go elsewhere, and take their money with them. The PFD is an annual, short term boost to the economy, but what we need now is steady, long term growth.
    And don’t get me wrong. I like free money as much as the next guy, and a graduated income tax would end up hitting me, but I can live with it because I have been one of the lucky ones.
    It wasn’t always that way, so I know what the other side looks like, and it’s not pretty.

  8. If people want to lift themselves out of poverty, hard work is a good recipe. There are lots and lots of “help wanted” signs everywhere as there is a big worker shortage in lots of service jobs. I’ve worked myself 3 jobs at a time in order to pay my bills and it worked time and time again.

  9. This is my opinion, but I bet, no, I know, I express what the vast majority of Alaskans think:

    I am fed up. I don’t know how many times we Alaskans can tell the legislature to just follow the law. Short of that, let’s go with the Dunleavy plan. Offering up $500 is beyond insulting. That amount is about what they make in a day. I hope the entire legislature gives this a resounding NO. I don’t care if any budget gets approved. I say let us just shut down the Alaskan government entirely until the legislature either gives us back the PFD according to the original plan, or agrees to Dunleavy’s proposal. Besides, shutting down the government due to no budget being approved might put a fire under the legislature to finally do the right thing and take care of Alaskans. Most of us long-timers can function without the government anyway.

  10. Let’s look carefully at what Tarr and her 18,000 poor constituents have in common with conservative Republicans in Alaska and INCLUDE what the majority of Alaskans have repeatedly desired re the PFD. I see A LOT IN COMMON!!

  11. To all the high and mighty folks here who say that people should just go out and get a job or a better job.
    What about the elderly and disabled? Or poor or battered women with children? Are they supposed to just run out and get a North slope or some such job too?

    • There is a distinct difference between those who will not work and those who cannot work. There are very few who cannot perform a productive function in society as opposed to those who choose to do nothing, whether out of laziness, pride (the job is beneath them), or bribery (collecting more than work might provide). For those who truly cannot work, we provide for their needs. But for those who choose not to work we need to provide the incentive to find gainful employment. Hunger can be a strong motivator. ‘Job interviewer: Why do you want this job? Potential employee: I have a strong aversion to allowing my family to starve.’
      So long as so many help wanted signs hang in windows we should not incentivize people to not work.
      And the PFD is the people’s money. I do know people in villages who rely on it as a significant source of income for their otherwise subsistence life.

  12. Racism.
    It is what politicians claim when they do not have any idea whatsoever what they are doing, or why they are voting a particular way.
    It is a way to shut down questions, arguments, or any meaningful discussion, because racism.
    It is the equivalent of a toddler putting their hands over their ears, and screaming LALALALALALA to drown out the opposition.

    • What is race? How is it defined? I searched several sources and there is no standard definition of race. Is it physical traits? Skin color? Common features? Is it cultural, geographical, linguistic, or religious commonalities? Is it family sharing a common lineage? Is it a group of people sharing common habits or lifestyle?
      So what is race?
      Is your skin shade a little different? Do we return to the brown paper bag test? Can someone with Albinism be considered Black? Does a Nigerian equal an Ethiopian equal an Indian equal an Aboriginal Australian? Does a Spaniard equal a Turk (big controversy now because most people of Turkey are discovered to be genetically Greek)?
      What if you have certain physical traits? Aryans? Almond shaped eyes? Short legs? No hair on your head? Thick eyelashes and moustache? Women with facial hair?
      How about the language definition if you speak jive (one of the greatest scenes in Airplane), or with a southern drawl, or high English snobbery to differ those from proper London, Cardiff, York or especially the Cockney lower classes of East London?
      Ethnic origin? Are you British or Saxon? British or Welsh? British or Scottish? Are you German Swiss? Italian Swiss? French Swiss? Roma Swiss? Are Jews a race?
      There is no such measurable parameter as race. It cannot be genetically defined nor sorted by any other scientific method. We are all human beings sharing the same genetic mix. Take any subgroup and their blood will transfuse into the body of any other subgroup. We are all together on this earth and we must either respect each other with all of our flaws or use the slight physical differences to drive wedges of division between us.
      And that’s what this is all about. One party has historically thrived by dividing people: the haves vs. the have nots; one skin shade above another; one sexual orientation over another; us against them. Always the politics of division to foment sufficient hatred to blind people to the real problems facing all of us so that we cannot prevail together. Gifted orators rouse the crowds to action with words of hate to commit untold atrocities against their fellow man (the other party is little better).
      So, Rep Tarr, there may be inequities here but please look into the real root causes and let’s resolve them together. Any politician who seeks power by division of us should be forever banned.

  13. Damn, she needs to go back to history class. What she’s describing is the old Democrats not the current progressive socialist club. She’s actually describing modern day Republicans. Amazing how the two parties have flip flopped the last 60 or 70 years and have become each other’s identity.

  14. What isn’t systemically racist to the leftist Bolshevik woke cancel culture crowd these days?

    Just another empty dysphemism that has lost all substance and meaning.

  15. Just divide the multi-billion dollar Permanent Fund (80 billion give or take) in half. Divide the 40B by the current tally of eligible applicants from 2020 (600,000)* for the last PFD, ever. The other 40B goes to the government and be done with PFD. At 5B a year spending, that would mean their half would be gone in less than 8 years based on past spending of the Statutory Budget Reserve (SBR) and the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) to almost nothing.

    Works out to $133,333 per eligible PFD applicatant. Talk about life changing distributions. This would be the end of bickering on the size of the dividend each year to hand out to the public. This will never happen in our lifetime.

    Otherwise, say goodbye to any dividend of any amount. A 2021 PFD of $500 is a slap in the face, based on the record stock market performance and the Permanent Fund (PF) growth. We have a spending problem and not a PF earnings problem.

  16. I would call it prejudiced and applaud Tarr for standing up against it. It’s obvious when the Feds are sending stimulus checks out during the pandemic and the Alaska Legislator is instead stealing Alaskans’ fair share that too many of the legislators are out of touch with the reality and purpose of the PFD. If they can ignore the laws, then why can’t everyone else?

    Perhaps we should just steal from the legislators that don’t understand until they do understand what it’s like.

  17. Geran Tarr, IF you are really interested in Alaska being able to pay a full PFD, THEN you should work to discontinue the outrageous Gravy Train you are on. You get $9,000.00 per month to live in Juneau, according to Mike Shower, and you don’t spend that much to live there. You get a boatload of free money while the legislative session takes place; somewhere around $36,000.00 (per legislator who does not live full time there). Get rid of the overly generous legislative per diem and then we can have a meaningful conversation.

  18. With the creatures in charge of PFD and budget concerns overall, Alaskans should count on no PFD and be pleasantly surprised if we receive any at all. The voting bloc that continues to install this type of “government” is trying to make Alaska into the mess that they “escaped” from. They are very consistent voters. Real Alaskans are mostly busy trying to make a living and tend to assume someone else will take care of it. How could any gov’t group be so callous as to steal Alaskans’ property/money? It doesn’t seem possible to real, honest Alaskans. It is happening nevertheless. The left in full color. Fixing this mess is not going to happen until Alaskans realize they can change it by voting at every level. Everyone eligible must start voting to correct this. Then we will start seeing real change back to the Alaska that is meant to be, not a leftist septic system.

  19. Dunleavy never had any intensions of giving up the PFD slush fund just like the millions he won’t account for in the stimulus money!!!

  20. I think that systemic racism is the result of climate change. Or is it the other way around? I suppose it doesn’t really matter – the Left will attribute any perceived societal issue as deeply rooted in one or the other, or both. Which tends to confirm the emptiness of these incantations.

  21. So being poor is now a race? What?
    I’m pretty sure there are more poor white people in Alaska than any other race. Is Geran saying the legislature is racist against white people?

  22. Why do liberals insist that poor people are always people of color? Isn’t that, in and of itself, knee-jerk racism?

    I grew up in her district, there were wealthy and poor alike. Just because they live in Russian Jack or Airport Heights, don’t assume they’re low income / poor. There were a number of people I can think of off the top of my head whose bank accounts were bigger than their homes and they weren’t all white. One of them even had a miniature pony they kept in their yard. These families were happy to live in smaller homes with larger yards and sidewalks because they had small children. I know many people who still live in that neighborhood today and they cannot be called low-income or poor by any means.

    But what about poor white people who do live in your district, Geran? Are their struggles less worthy because of their skin color? Are their financial stresses less important because of the privilege you maintain they have because of their whiteness? Or is all of that insignificant as long as you can accuse someone of being racist and score points with people who, like yourself, ignorantly assume that you only represent poor people of color?

  23. Let’s just carve up Alaska a bit more and offer reparations to all the low income folks regardless of whether
    or not they want to work. We’ll call it systemic Marxism for lack of political correctness. Democrats should actually be proud of this, as it gives true definition to the values they espouse. btw, how’s that Dunleavy Recall petition working for you?

  24. Wayne Coogan, your sentiments regarding the boy who cried Wolf are true, but except of her charge of racism in this one instance Rep Tarr is making sense. As you know Mr. Coogan, the best way to distribute wealth is to do so directly, such is the PFD. However the Democratic Party which controls the public employee unions would rather sop up the gravy of state spending before it hits the street, leaving little or none for Tarr’s folks. I think Rep Tarr needs rethink her mantra a bit, and realize that her own party are the racist robbing her people.

  25. Bryan, in case you weren’t aware, the Anchorage Community Land Trust is located in her district. They operate programs encouraging and promoting entrepreneurship, which is far, far better than a job. For those not ready to take that step, there is a hindrance facing many in that part of town. The People Mover’s 2017 restructuring effectively created a bunch of redlining. Most low-income neighborhoods in the northeast Anchorage bowl are served by “neighborhood routes”. These routes feature small buses running along side streets. They still terminate at the now-closed Northway Mall and don’t provide easy connections to mainline routes traveling to employment centers.

  26. Hey Suzanne — Why can’t we discuss the bloated Gravy Train that is outrageous per diem money that all legislators (except those who live in Juneau full time) GET? Mike Shower says it’s $9,000.00 per month and there is no way that legislators pay that much to live there — except Andy Josephson maybe who is using his per diem to buy a house there. It seems to me that reducing per diem to reimbursement for actual expenses would free up a lot of money and allow for a larger PFD. You have twice blocked my comments about this.

  27. These incompetent unethical unqualified legislators want it both ways, no budget cuts and full PFD. All they are doing is campaigning and refused to do their jobs.

  28. Liz, did you format your supposed blocked statements in a non-slanderous way? Was it the truth? Was it tastefully worded? This isn’t your blog, and if you want to post on here, you have to jump through the hoops. I get many of my posts locked down, sometimes I run my mouth and use words to describe my feelings accurately but probably they’re being banned to keep me out of legal Jeopardy. I understand all this and I don’t hold Suzanne to blame. Sometimes we all step over the line.

  29. @Liz – Last I looked Legislative per diem was the same as federal DoD per diem for Juneau. I’m kinda’ cynical about it because i think it was a back door way to get a pay raise but the salient issue here is that the whole budget of the Legislative Branch would be lost in the rounding errors of the budgets of the Departments of Education or Health and So-Called Services. For all but the last few years of my State career we ran the whole government on a General Funds Operating Budget that was less than the current budget of DHSS. In the overall State budget, the cost of Legislative per diem is inconsequential.

  30. Blue on Blue is always fun, so making popcorn is in order.

    OTOH, if everything is systemic racism, nothing is racist at all.

    And Tarr by her vote put the current House leadership in charge. Nicely done, Madam. Cheers –

  31. Robert ANTHONY Schenker, your comment is lucid; except for where you say, “as you know Mr. Coogan, the best way to distribute wealth is to do so directly, such is the PFD.” Frankly, if you tried to be more wrong you could not be.
    How do you measure the productivity in an economy? Textbook economics notions of GDP, market analysis, and monetary theory fail to provide a measure of true productivity. Economics is fundamentally a physical process, and we start by understanding the role of the productive power of labor (and its enhancement by technology, machinery and innovation). Currency is merely a marker used in exchange for true productivity in a fair and honest manner. Distributing currency without production traded in exchange is nothing more than transfer of wealth from productive Americans to non-productive Americans (theft?). Twist these facts as much as you like; you will not change them.

  32. Wayne Coogan,
    I do not dispute your summation of Adam Smith, F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and other economic geniuses . That is not the issue at play here. What we are talking about is the reality of great wealth that has been siphoned off from producers, ostensibly to “benefit the populace”. The intent of the P-Fund was to keep the grubby mitts of the ruling class (err excuse me, the parasitic political class) away from a portion of the wealth that belonged to every Alaskan. The PFD has demonstrated to be the most effectual way to get wealth into the hands of every Alaskan. This wealth then helps energize the local economy of Alaska and is a real boon to thousands of families struggling to make ends meet.
    At present sums derived from producers ( income from taxes and royalty payments) are spent keeping useless non productive programs funded. Many of these programs are not benefiting anyone other then those who receive a pay check for administration (showing up for work) of these programs. Taking sums from a direct payment to individuals in order to fund useless programs has the effect of a double whammy upon the economy.

    We live in an imperfect world, Wayne Douglass Coogan, sometimes one has to make choices as to how to bring about the greater good. There is at present a leviathan gobbling up the wealth of productive producers, a process of starving this beast is the only remedy. Feeding the beast your PFD because you believe it is an entitlement or somehow stave off an income tax will not answer. Demand your PFD and starve the beast.

  33. The P/fund payout is not free money. It is a dividend that is paid to the residents of the state because they are the owners of it resources.

    The distribution of that money was written into state law but of late our legislative bodies have chosen to ignore the law.

    The dividend was set up to prevent the legislature from spending every penny of the oil wealth as they did with the first $900,000,000 that they got from the original lease sales and the residents would could get a direct benefit from the resource that they own.

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