Senate: No to full PFD, but yes to $2,300 - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, October 22, 2021
HomePoliticsSenate: No to full PFD, but yes to $2,300

Senate: No to full PFD, but yes to $2,300

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After a lengthy debate in the Alaska Senate on Wednesday night, it came down to a 10-10 vote, and thus a failure for a full Permanent Fund dividend this year. The amendment by Sen. Bill Wielechowski would have give qualifying Alaskans $3,400.

The debate lasted hours regarding various amounts and methods of funding the annual oil royalty dividend, but on this particular amendment, the debate was especially passionate.

Another amendment, giving people a $2,300 Permanent Fund dividend, passed, 12-8. An amendment to spend $1.5 billion from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account to pay for it the PFD passed, 11-9.

It is the largest Permanent Fund dividend in Alaska history.

The Permanent Fund dividend was one of the bigger bones of contention in the operating budget discussion as senators were running out the clock on the 121-day session.

House Bill 69 authorizes $4.43 billion in state unrestricted general funds for the upcoming fiscal year 2022 operating expenses and $274.6 million for next year’s capital budget, which leverages nearly $1.9 billion in federal funds for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

With more than $10 billion in the Permanent Fund’s spendable portion, senators voted to transfer $4 billion into the fund’s principal account, which cannot be spent without amending the state constitution.

“As we finalize the budgets, we look forward to working with the House and Governor over the summer to finally resolve Alaska’s multi-year fiscal challenge,” said Senate President Peter Micciche. “With a sustainable fiscal package, our state will attract new investment, grow our economy, and generate good paying jobs for Alaska families.”

“I think we’ve got a fine bill in front of us with a fine dividend for the people,” summarized Sen. Bert Stedman, co-chair of Finance, just prior to the final vote. “All told we did a good job. Shaved about $20 million off, all agencies. That’s the operating budget, basically been running flat.

The omnibus budget bill, including the Capital budget and $2,300 PFD, passed 17-3, with Sens. Scott Kawasaki, Donny Olson and Lora Reinbold voting against it.

The bill goes back to the House for a concurrence vote. Likely, the matter will instead be taken up in conference committee.

Special session begins Thursday to take up Senate Joint Resolution 6, which would ask Alaskans to decide on whether to put the Permanent Fund calculation into the Alaska Constitution or to allow it to continue to be a political football year after year.

Read: Dunleavy bill — SJR 6 — would get PFD vote to the people

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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

  • Revak, Stedman, Miccichie Stevens, Von Imhof are all traitors who should be ashamed to face their constituents. How is it that AK republicans put up with these people?

  • Not good enough. When the oil money is flowing like water, the state legislature spends like drunken sailors. When we hit a rough spot, state social programs don’t take a cut or just get cut entirely. Thief Stedman thinking a 20 million reduction is great, it’s not. Compared to the BILLIONS the state is spending, it’s not “fine”. Add another zero to the tune of 200 million and come back and tell Alaskans with a straight face that it’s a “fine bill”. Stedman can always get a job as a used cars salesman.

  • Stealing from you, again, and then patting themselves on the back.

  • How magnanimous of them! “With more than $10 billion in the Permanent Fund’s spendable portion, senators voted to transfer $4 billion into the fund’s principal account,…” That meant that there was 6 billion left and it should have been 3 billion for us and 3 billion for the State to fritter away. However, that was not meant to be.

    “Another amendment, giving people a $2,300 Permanent Fund dividend, passed, 12-8. An amendment to spend $1.5 billion from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account to pay for it the PFD passed, 11-9.”

    So they pocket the rest of the 3 billion: 1.5 billion for 4.5 billion to fritter away of the 6 billion that was left.

  • But is vociferousness ok? I mean digitally and socially now in partially post coronavirus lockdowns in small population Alaska. Shouldn’t something and someone be locked down? For something? I feel so…fusion…

  • How will we ever get in good with the Godless, organic communists in Asia and everything else beelzebub… How? I ask you. What’s the real goal here. Obeying the law which applies exclusively to you? By doing what you truly “feel” in lieu? How outstanding. Your feelings shining like the sun as they should as opposed to mere, stark ostensible “laws” concerning your august views on such matters. Shining! Like the sun! Like the great wall of China!

  • How will we ever get in good with the Godless, organic communists in Asia and everything else beelzebub… How? I ask you. What’s the real goal here. Obeying the law which applies exclusively to you? Or, oppositely doing what you truly “feel” in lieu? How outstanding. Your feelings shining like the sun as they should as opposed to mere, stark ostensible “laws” concerning your august views on such matters. Shining! Like the sun! Like the great wall of China!

  • $2300 dividend? I’ll believe it when I see it, the house will change it to closer to $500 and spend the rest on gov bloat, it’s what they do best.

  • For instance.

  • So very magnanimous of them.
    Now watch how the House cuts this down even further so that they can fund special interests and give public sector union retirees bigger pensions.

  • Why is it that state legislators will never mess with state statute when it comes to funding state pension benefits, but can’t wait to mess with the state statute regarding the funding of the PFD every year!

  • Thank you, benevolent rulers, for granting us such largesse with our own public funds.
    We bow to your superior knowledge and intelligence and your need to fund government salaries and benefits that make public sector jobs so much more attractive than private sector jobs.
    We submit to your will, recognize that getting elected elevates you above us and support your desire to generously hand out the public funds you withhold from us as public welfare to gain the support and votes of the citizens thusly paid off.

  • What about the amount they still owe us for stealing past dividends? This bs going back and forth has to end. Get rid of the PFD and give the citizen stake holders a settlement amount. If they feel so much animosity towards the people then give us what is rightfully ours and let them fight without the people being the ones who suffer.

  • Government sponsored thieves.

  • No mention of back pay I presume?

  • More theft from the people of Alaska for a bloated, unsustainable budget put together by cowards.

  • I still don’t understand there’s a Law. Thats on the books how to calculate are PFD
    Remember people it’s are PFD, it’s not the Juneau legislators money. End of story.

  • The question above asks why Legislators adhere to funding Pension Benefits and not the PFD. Easy answer, if they did snub those receiving pension benefits a Legion of Lawyers would descend upon them like maggots on a road kill moose carcass in the hot July sun. Plus said Lawyers would be backed up by Federal Law regarding such issues. So in the end, it’s about who and what you fear. They obviously do not fear you, Mr. “average” Joe Alaskan.

  • How about breaking up some of that $1 billion Power Cost Equalization fund so we can get our full PFD?

    I see no reason for me to subsidize electricity rates for people that choose to live in the Bush. You want to live out there? More power to you. But be self sufficient.

  • Tone deaf and spineless!

  • Since when is the PFD supposed to be a budget item? Peeru Micchoche campaigned with the the promise to work for a full constitutional PFD. He lied.

  • Still acting like oil is $100 a barrel and stealing poor people’s money to continue the insanity* The state is not receiving huge oil revenue.
    Ask a politician if the stolen PFD money for “essential services” is equally distributed per capita throughout our state. Answer ? No
    they can’t guarantee uniform distribution of the money they abscond with. Tragic, the PFD is set up for that exact reason

  • You people are a bunch of whiners, take the $2300 and quit complaining.

  • The reason they can’t go after pension benefits is because the benefits are constitutionally protected. Changing the law on past agreements or refusing to fund them violates the constitution, which is the one thing legislators can’t do (unlike completely ignoring the will of the people after we voted to limit the session to 90 days). They can change benefits for new hires going forward, which is what they did in 2006 when they went from tier 3 (defined benefit) to tier 4 (defined contribution).
    On another note, anyone know why we are no longer able to respond to individual comments?

  • Stevens and Begich – nepotic scum – figures…
    We need to clean house in the House.
    In the last 20 years we haven’t done anything “great” to push this state and our economy forward for the next generation.
    Not one pipeline, dam, bridge, highway – our lands are still shut down by the Feds – and we are trying to implement critical race theory in our schools and mask all of our children.
    Nothing but half-measures, hot air, and bravo sierra.

  • @HARBORGUY

    “You people are a bunch of whiners, take the $2300 and quit complaining.”

    Yeah you peasants! The nobles have decreed you entitled to the scraps of your labor!

  • Shafted again. How trendy this has become.

  • California Refuge,

    Fruits of your labors? what labor? What do you do to get the PFD, fill out a form?

    You do not pay any State taxes so getting the PFD costs you nothing.

  • What does the International Right of Way Assiciation say about the negotiated, contracted, taken property mineral rights from private ownership by government. There is a due process for that. It doesn’t involve reneging on the payment feature unless you have broken the US Constitution and having cheerfully done so to date you don’t expect to be audited. Ignorance of a
    the law and being bound to know it is no excuse. Ignorantia juris non excusat. Our legislators are bound by the Constitution. You would think they would be curious about it slightly. Judges who don’t support the Constitution share burden of responsibility.I believe.

  • Furthermore, who says legislators proud of their bold actions while blissfully not knowing the US Constitution should not assume they have authority to open up the document of the state of Alaska’s statehood creation merely to transiently change anything in the only document given to authorize any of their actions. To open it up to amendment is to destroy the document of the state’s creation. Are we opening it up to recreate a second and third Alaska? The document is a document of creation. Who authorized this group to destroy our document of statehood creation. None of them are authorized to create any new states. To open it is to destroy their own authority. But we are accustomed giant mistakes of ignoramuses and their ill will toward mere people of the land and residents aren’t we.

  • I feel the need to point out that no one man has been delegated the power to say “I’d like to order you to change the words in the Alaska Constitution on my order”. Not the poorly informed well meaning governor; not a US President ordering change of a state statehood creation document; not the King Mauritania, Great Britain, Sweden or China. Nor the former pope!. Well how is it changed then? By Convention called by the sovereign people. The delegates to this consciously called convention are delegates who may or may not coincide with current elected capitol attendees. When was our most recent convention we called. I don’t remember it. You would think I would. What date was that? Oh it didn’t happen. I SEE. Slow the ultra vires train down. Use whose authority is being usurped as usual. If we had a competent sheriff this idea would not have traveled this far.

  • I feel the need to point out that no one man has been delegated the power to say “I’d like to order you to change the words in the Alaska Constitution on my order”. Not the poorly informed well meaning governor; not a US President ordering change of a state statehood creation document; not the King of Mauritania, Great Britain, Sweden or China. Nor the former pope!. Well how is it changed then? By Convention called by the sovereign people. The delegates to this consciously called convention are delegates who may or may not coincide with current elected capitol attendees. When was our most recent convention we called. I don’t remember it. You would think I would. What date was that? Oh it didn’t happen. I SEE. Slow the ultra vires train down. Use whose authority is being usurped as usual. If we had a competent sheriff this idea would not have traveled this far.

  • I feel the need to point out that no one man has been delegated the power to say “I’d like to order you to change the words in the Alaska Constitution on my order”. Not the poorly informed well meaning governor; not a US President ordering change of a state statehood creation document; not the King of Mauritania, Great Britain, Sweden or China. Nor the former pope!. Well how is it changed then? By Convention called by the sovereign people. The delegates to this consciously called convention are delegates who may or may not coincide with current elected capitol attendees. When was our most recent convention we called. I don’t remember it. You would think I would. What date was that? Oh it didn’t happen. I SEE. Slow the ultra vires train down. Use whose authority is being usurped as usual. If we had a competent sheriff this idea would not have traveled this far. NO MA’AM. ULTRA VIRUS INDEED!

  • The Court of Record contains professional negotiations for privately held mineral rights. They evidently were worth something in the entanglements making up the rights of way for the pipeline. This work product was completed by Dan Beardsley, may he rest in peace who worked the pipeline negotiations hopefully to federal standards. Mineral rights are not valueless.

  • Just when you thought that the Republicans had “taken control” of the Senate, out come the usual six RINOs to deny a full PFD. I would sooner vote for a Communist who actually admits he is a Communist than these weak Republican traitors.

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