Senate protest vote: $525 dividend shows conference committee failed in its negotiations on the budget


Sen. Natasha von Imhof, in an impassioned but brief speech on the Senate floor today, implored her colleagues to vote in favor of the operating budget. Eventually they did, but not before a reconsideration vote, and even then, the budget didn’t succeed in getting fully funded. The game is not over, although the Friday deadline approaches.

Von Imhof, who represents south Anchorage, said that her father Ed Rasmuson is home dying from cancer and “I’m here listening to the biggest crock of crap I’ve ever heard. I’m so sick of it. Get a grip, people! Vote for this budget!” she yelled.

“The greed and the entitlement is astounding to me,” von Imhof said to the Senate, describing the people of Alaska who support the statutory formula for the Permanent Fund dividend of over $3,000, or those who support the 50-50 dividend, of over $2,300.

Must Read Alaska’s montage of Senate floor debate captures key moments.

On the first round of voting, the operating budget failed by one vote, cast by Sen. Lyman Hoffman, who then asked for reconsideration. The Senate then took a break.

On reconsideration, the budget passed the Senate, along with the effective date, which would keep government running after July 1.

But the Senate did not have enough votes to access the Constitutional Budget Reserve fund to pay for some programs, some capital budget items, and some of the Permanent Fund dividend. That vote was 12-5, with Sens. Donny Olson, Mike Shower, and Bill Wielechowski excused.

That leaves a $525 Permanent Fund dividend and a lot of programs and capital projects in the Mat-Su Valley crossed off the list. The vote for the $525 dividend was largely a protest vote against the strong-arm tactics of the conference committee.

It was important that the effective date clause was passed by the Senate. But it still is not enough: Without an effective date clause from the House, the budget doesn’t go into effect until 90 days after the governor signs it, which could lead to a government shutdown.

However, in the past, some attorneys general have said that if the governor “intends to sign” the budget, the effective date clause doesn’t have to stop the government from continuing to function. It’s a gray area, but the Constitution makes it clear that the effective date clause on a bill is 90 days unless it is changed purposefully with a vote. It could be subject to litigation.

It’s unknown if Gov. Mike Dunleavy will sign the budget or veto it in whole, or in part. The new fiscal year begins July 1, and pink slips could go out after Thursday.

The House hasn’t gaveled out yet, so the members could go back and rescind their vote, and pass an effective date clause in line with the Senate. It’s doubtful they have the votes to change the outcome, however, as Rep. Sara Rasmussen left town on Tuesday and Rep. Neal Foster, co-chair of House Finance and co-chair of the conference committee, has also left, which leaves a big mess for Gov. Mike Dunleavy.


  1. Von Imhof can resign and go home and take care of her father. If she doesn’t like representing her people anymore, then simply quit and let someone else do the job.
    And ……..hopefully Dunleavy rejects the O. Budget and pink slips get handed out to the bureaucrats ……especially those who never lost one paycheck from the government during the past 15 months, while the rest of us in the private sector lost our jobs. A bunch of sniveling, whiney, cockroaches. We don’t care!

  2. Natasha Von Imhof needs to resign. Go take care of your own family. She’s just a Former gov Walker toady and an useful idiot promoting Chinese communist ideas that the people do not deserve the money that is rightfully theirs.

  3. It’s my strong belief that this entire theater is because no one has the courage to reduce the operating budget at all, especially to a sustainable level. At 500,000 barrels a day and only 730,000 people the state operating budget is easily $3 billion larger than any reasonable person would recommend. But we’ve been sucking the hind teat for so long that anyone has to be realistic. Taking $1 billion out of the budget would be responsible and prudent, and a great beginning. Any of us could find that $1 billion today.

  4. “The greed and the entitlement is astounding to me,” Von Imhof said.
    That’s some projection by Von Imhof.

    Why are these people so unwilling to trim the fat? Fraud, waste and abuse and the silver spoon trust fund baby has a lot of room to talk about free money, but me personally I’d rather see the whole thing liquidated and given away in the form of grants than to send one more penny to Juneau fat cats and carpet baggers to fund their reckless spending, kickbacks and frivolous lifestyles.

    Who do these elites represent? Vote them out you say, replace them with who? I ask for every 1 decent one there are 1,000 terrible pols.
    Where were they when their friends in the local government were locking you down, closing businesses, and threatening violence if you broke their dictates? the silence was deafening.

  5. Veto this monstrosity make the Senators and Representatives do their dam job and stop using PFD as a hostage

  6. Nothing like being lectured about greed and entitlement by someone expressing greed and entitlement, the term hypocrisy comes to mind.
    This budget needs to be vetoed.
    What a joke this legislature has been and continues to be.

  7. I was angry about the latest goings-on in Juneau until that Von Imhof had her temper tantrum then I got mad! Every single one of the idiots that voted for the budget stood there and lied to us for hours. And then the vote…OOPS, thought we had all the votes we needed…Of course, let the liberal change his vote.
    I shouldn’t be responding the Suzanne’s well written blog because I imagine she pretty much feels about the same way I do.
    I need a drink.

  8. It is not about the dividend, it is about the spending. I would agree to using the PFD to pay for worthy expenses, not to send representatives to Juneau for leg wrestling and beer pong, payoff of special interests and voting groups, and then special session to figure how to pay for their profligate spending. Until they learn fiscal restraint the PFD is best in citizens’ pockets.

    • Get a grip here AK, as this budget is essentially the Governor’s budget-it is entirely about the PFD.

      • You certainly need to study your politics before spouting off. The governor proposes his budget but in our system the purse strings belong to the legislature. I will grant that I certainly would prefer for the governor to be more conservative in his proposal, and our legislature is as responsible as a two year old in a candy shop. I, as many, would sign on to the PFD supporting RESPONSIBLE state government, but too many greedy fingers are already in the mix for that to happen, so therefore the only way to control the beast is to starve it. Moving the legislative session to the rail belt is the first step toward being able to hold them accountable.

        • And the Legislature passed the Governor’s proposed budget (without his PFD)-the problem was the Governor’s with his new-found purpose of the effective date that was not passed by a 2/3 vote. That vote was only about the PFD and had nothing to do with the budget that was passed.
          I suspect this will be corrected in next special session but no guarantees in politics. Your comment that it was not about the dividend was (and still is) bull manure. Tough noogies to you as this has not a single thing to do with moving the session to the rail belt (more bull manure).

          • Bill Yankee, you miss the point with your arrogant, condescending blather. The point is that conservatives understand necessary government functions must be funded, but that our Juneau Romper Room legislature throws money like candy to their preferred voting groups. Dunlevy negotiated the best deal possible on the budget and still lost on the PFD.
            And until these toddler legislators meet in a place accessible to all so that we can get ‘in their faces’ (as Maxine Waters recommends), they will continue their late night antics and responsibility primarily to high dollar lobbyists. But until the dysfunction enters your back yard, I’m sure that you don’t care.

  9. Yet again, and will be the case as long as the brainchild of the geniuses in the Hammond administration survives, the PFD wags the dog.

  10. Where was Bill Wielechowski during the vote? Why was he excused? Nobody is answering at the Juneau or Anchorage office.

  11. People like Von Imhof make my stomach turn. I am Thankful I didnt have to be raised with her being my mother. I’d end up becoming an addict, preferring to live around the realness of homeless and vagrant crowd over her kind of crowd.

    That’s just disgusting calling Alaskans entitled and greedy. That’s real rich coming from a Rasmussen! Her upbringing embodies entitlement.

  12. Get ready legislature if you agree to this the people will rise up and vote all of you out of office. If that doesn’t wake them up wait till more Alaskans move to the lower 48 for jobs. The communists legislators have ruined Alaska. If Dunleavy doesn’t stand up and give Alaskans the $3000 they are due he will be voted out of office as well. The legislature is working for the investors of the PFD not the people.
    States like Arizona, Texas, South Dakota and Florida are flourishing while Alaska is barely surviving even though there sitting on a goldmine of $80 billion dollars and they can’t spare the $3000 dollars for each Alaskan.

  13. As always, we get a budget handcrafted by the Democrats, Fake Independents, and RINOs. Doesn’t matter how many Republicans we elect. Even if the entire legislature was Republican, it would still somehow be liberal. Add in the very real prospect of Dominion vote flipping, along with Prop 2 and you get a total collapse of democracy in this great state

  14. Someone who’s never put in an honest days work in her entire life talking about “entitlement” is the very definition of a “crock of crap”.

  15. Folks here make me Laugh! Not only are you all incorrect about how much you “deserve” (which is actually nothing), you fail to understand that a legislature is a collaborative body that requires the agreement of people that think like YOU and the people that don’t. Your declarations of a government run by your personal fiat is not realistic. In the words of the honorable Senator Natasha Von Imhof: Get a Grip!

  16. Von Imhof is a wealthy heir to her great-grandfather’s well-earned fortune. This is a woman who never has to sit down at the end of a month to try to make ends meet, with a fixed income and costs rising daily.

    She never has to worry, can I afford new tires, a new washer, maybe a new refrigerator or god forgive , a much needed vacation for the kids?

    Alaskans have come to expect the PFD to offset the high cost of living in this state.

    She as well as many of her colleagues forgot how difficult it is to survive in this state we love.

    She needs to open her eyes and ears, stop listening to her wealthy friends.

    Alaskans need the PFD this year more than ever. How about a means test that would exclude wealthy people such as her. One can only hope.

  17. The Rasmusons have been getting money from Alaska and its government for years and this swamp creature has the audacity to call Alaskans who want the law obeyed “greedy”?

    Begone, foul thing. Back to dark pits from whence you spawned.

  18. Wake up people, the Legislature screwed you again on a lawful, statutory permanent fund dividend and gave you crumbs ($525) from the $80 billion Permanent Fund. That is all the dividend State of Alaska can afford right now for its citizens. Times are tough and you have to tighten your belt.

    Except for special interest groups, unions, lobbyists, and all others clamoring for the Earnings Reserve Account dollars. Yet, someone continues to vote these legislators to go to Juneau and “represent” them.

  19. Story does not explain why Senator Bill left the floor, was excused by all the other Senators changing the math to allow passage of the budget.
    Somebody asked him to leave.

  20. Stick to the formula! Stop shafting me! The over-inflated state government has to stop! All you do is bend over for special interest groups and end up paying a pittance to us, it happens over and over, so sick of your petty games! Veto it! Shut it down! $80 billion and you dare throw us a bone?

  21. Resign and go home and take care of your family. We do not need you anymore. ALL u greedy —- need to be checkless for the next 12-24 months and see how u manage without money. We the people are barely getting by because of you.

  22. Dear Dunleavy……
    VETO VETO it all and make them earn their keep until they acknowledge who really owns every stinking penny they are wanting to spend on their over bloated government, we the people of Alaska own every stinking penny that is put in that fund they are trying to rob. We allow them 50% to run a fiscal government, so don’t forget to send out those 50% checks to we the people of Alaska, who ARE the rightful owners of all those monies.
    Ps…Tell Natasha to go jump in the river.

  23. We have hope. It is time to find ways to improve. The key is in changing the broken oil and gas system and making it better.

    The state has so much oil and gas but the leadership runs risk capital away with the worst tax laws and oil and gas agencies, it is simply the current rules and regulations that are unfair and cost too much and take too long. The evidence is clear, Alaska oil production has dropped every year for decades and Texas has increased with an elected oil and gas commsioner.

    Alaska is a big unfair company town and it has been killing the life out of the economy and the great people of Alaska

    The system is unfair as it favors a few big companies as they abuse the rest. When will someone wake up the sleeping wealth that sits underground?

    It is time to change the oil and gas laws so lots of new risk capital will come and invest in Alaska’s vast oil and gas potential and make Alaskans wealthy and happy again?

  24. Entitled is a good description because, by law, we’re entitled to a statutory PFD.
    Greedy is also a good description for everyone lined up at the government trough waiting for their high salaries and generous benefits and all the welfare cases waiting for their free government goodies. They’re the greedy ones and their unlimited demand for more, more, more is the actual problem.
    Any lawmaker who won’t vote for a statutory PFD should be removed from office.
    Any lawmaker who can’t manage a state budget exactly the same way we are all forced to manage our own household budgets …balanced or surplus… needs to be removed from office because they don’t understand their job duties or they’re inept at performing them.

  25. Didn’t Imhof run as a conservative?
    That little temper tantrum was an embarrassment.
    The legislature want to spend “their” money and leave crumbs for the citizens.

    • She has always been opposed to any sort of income tax (which would hurt the rich) and the taking of these PFDs keeps an income tax at bay.
      She is a conservative, for sure. The fat cats (with huge salaries) will any day prefer the taking of these PFDs to being taxed on their income.
      It’s only the little conservatives that want their PFDs and many of them wouldn’t pay any income tax, as their incomes are so low.

  26. The governor needs to be the grown-up here and veto $750 million GF out of the operating budget. With all the federal money coming here it’s the best year to right-size state government.

  27. Nothing like being labeled greedy and entitled by a spoiled brat who is a member of one of the richest families in the history of the state, and who is working desperately to steal money that by law belongs to the residents of the state…..

  28. As someone with a 90 year old friend on a fixed income, I’ve seen the impact these decisions have made on his quality of life. He’s just one of thousands in this state.
    My opinion is that that our representatives are stealing from him and every other Alaskan citizen.
    This is obscene.
    And that’s about where I stop.
    Anything else I say would not be suitable to this wonderful blog.

  29. What was it a couple years ago and she was doing the same crap? Remember she was belly aching because they were stuck in Juneau and she didn’t have a change of cloths?
    I’m sorry her Dad has cancer. I know other legislators whom have family with cancer and other medical issues. Don’t hear them going off the deep end like this “entitled” one! Talk about “privilege”!

  30. von Imhof – “let them eat cake”! This is what you get when you elect an entitled Trust Fund Baby!

  31. I can’t believe I’ve been called greedy and entitled by a politician! Talk about a crock of crap.
    It’s not so much about the money, it’s about FOLLOWING THE LAW.
    If I am late for an appointment, it is inconvenient to follow the speed limit, but THE LAW IS THE LAW. If I choose to exceed the speed limit, I may cause an accident, or I may get pulled over by a Trooper. Either way, there are consequences to my action. The law does not change to accomodate my current situation. Of course, I may get away with it this time, and then my law breaking could form into a habit, and I won’t understand why drivers who choose to drive the speed limit are so upset with me.
    Governor: Please veto this IN THE NAME OF THE LAW.

  32. “Greedy” and “Entitled”? By law that is my money. That is royalty investment return on MY resources. You sold my oil and I expect a return on that sale.

    Governor Dunleavy, veto this thing. Send out the pink slips. Let the overpaid state employees submit resumes and earn their jobs back. Half the people are going to hate you no matter what you do, you might as well fix state government while you’re at it.

    This is the perfect time and you have a tailwind.

  33. Veto this insulting budget. Shut ‘er down !(the Alaska government). And elitist, entitled, disgusting von Imhof can wallow in her whinny self-righteous fits forever, but not on this taxpayer’s time and dollar.

    I have no sympathy. How on earth does she remain in the legislature? I’d be ashamed if she were from my district.

    We little people deal with all these life miseries all the time and we still grab our bootstraps and get ourselves to our daily work and contribute constructively to our communities consistently.

    She is overpaid, over privileged and out of touch. She is not even close to experiencing what we experience. We are suffering because of her. I think she should get paid a grand total of $525 for the entire session and not a penny more. Not one perk, not one extra benefit.

    We the People of Alaska are mad as hell. Shut down the government, lay the blame on the likes of von Imhof where it belongs, and honor the intent of the PFD.

  34. This from greedy, entitled von Imhof who fought to keep the plebes off of her publicly funded “private” lake?

  35. @Nyman:
    Get a grip? von Imhof is the one who lost it. If her daddy has cancer, it’s not our concern. She needs to leave. BTW fella, since you apparently don’t believe in statutory law, and you obviously don’t need money, just send your PFD back to the DOR. Not much to it. Even an old Lefty like you should be able to figure it out.

  36. Most of us would agree the government/political/bureaucratic (overlords) produce nothing. They exist only by seizing money of the truly productive class which, to be generous, is not even 25% of voters. We acknowledge there is much overlap in the line between productive and nonproductive voters (ie, no voter is 100% productive).
    The overlords have grown out of control in spending freely-obtained wealth of others in a manner to insure their re-elections. The free wealth is an intoxicating drug to which the overlords are addicted; a curse if you will, that takes full control of those so addicted. They need firm treatment for this addiction. As a remedy, we now seek to limit the amount of wealth the overlords control by redirecting a measure of it directly to voters vis-a-vis the PFD. However, by doing so, we are only transferring the intoxicating curse of dependency onto the voters.

    By telling them its “the people’s money” we have groomed them to be willingly less productive accomplices in the accursed Marxist agenda.
    Money should never be used other than as a marker given in exchange for production. The only exception would be that of freely-given charity to those truly in need…. and even this exception should be exercised with discretion.

    Why is it so reprehensible to think a person receiving $1,500 from their government should provide a good or service in return?

    Perhaps picking up letter, cutting grass, painting government buildings, delivering food to the needy; possibilities are endless. How about compensating jurors from the productive class with pay equivalent to that given to non-productive government employees? Or, maybe the PFD could be a credit against a state income tax.?
    Having the PFD occupy the center of the Alaskan political stage every year is a problem that needs a permanent solution.

  37. My dad has cancer too, and he needs his full PFD, retroactively, to survive. Do you hear me, von Imhof?

  38. Ted, the ruling class (our overlords) constantly repeat the mantra: “the permanent fund is the people’s money.” If that is so, don’t you think your dad (suffering from cancer) should be allowed to withdraw his full $98,000 share of the fund immediately?
    Moreover, if it truly is “our money,” why shouldn’t we all be allowed to withdraw our share? Of course, anyone wanting the state to continue controlling “their money” should certainly be allowed to leave their share in the fund.
    In summary, if I am not allowed to withdraw “my $98,000,” stop telling me “its the peoples’ money.”

  39. I would prefer to not have members to disparage and impugn the public and or other members on the floor. It is disorderly and should be investigated. The public has a possessory interest in the PFD. It was the intent to provide it in permanency distributed directly. There oaths to abide by rules of decorum, obedience to corporate bylaws, and the US Constitution and Alaskan Constitution. To whom much is given much is required.

  40. When you elect millionaires and billionaires into office this is what you get! You think these people care about you and your family making ends meet? All they care about is controlling you and getting richer while your family suffers. The back room deals and kick backs are a normal part of life for the ultra-wealthy. You Peasants will never understand and you all need to be controlled. Look at Delta Leasing and the back room deals with ASRC CEO Christy Resler and you might get a small taste of what I’m talking about.

  41. $81 Billion in the Fund, and they can’t cut a check to Alaskans (for what was required under state law)?
    Something is wrong here.
    Ordinary people who lost their private sector jobs need the PFD now more than ever.
    And our legislators have been in Juneau since January fighting over scraps of the $81 Billion Fund.
    They are truly a shameful, disgusting bunch.

  42. What? von Imhof has a jet? How wonderful. Must be nice being up on top of the ladder. And if she needs to sell it, Sarah Palin is pretty good at selling jets. She put Frank Murkowski’s jet up on EBay and had it sold quick. Maybe Lisa is ready to upgrade and buy a jet. von Imhof, you listening? Is your dad listening?

  43. Also, let’s talk about reality like the monarchs do in the UK, ok? They are continuing to run their oil spigot…”oil for me but not for thee Biden”. Also, the industry in the UK is making contingency plans for fielding the oil key management tier when they keel over en masse. What do they know we don’t? Oh everything.

  44. 16,000.00 will be breathed into each elected officials household because they are going to second session that was orchestrated by deceit and lies. Imhof will be voted in again because she made a plea for citizen Q, the little guy. Another list will be published who took advantage and they will be voted out with a lifetime retirement through the SOA. Gee, a lifetime retirement for postponing voting on a bloated government while the rest if us sing, “Ain’t no Senators’ son.” Looks like only the elected officials kids get to go to college while the drones’ kids get nothing.

  45. The Democrats are using their Union bullies to make locals life miserable. Domestic violence against women is rising while the the free the oppressed youth from treatment programs is alive and well. New laws need to be enacted that keeps kids as offenders checking back in with parole officers. Welcome to the jungle, the elected officials don’t care what the young members of their family do. They just forward them to the nearest mothers their union bullies have brow-beaten. Welcome to the world of the 400lb male union bullies all because you grease their Democratic agenda!

  46. Alaska’s Government is just a bunch of whiny infantile Morons, the entire bunch ! Just as bad as the Washington Idiots

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