Teachers turn out to oppose PFD payback - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 20, 2019
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Teachers turn out to oppose PFD payback

PROPONENTS OF FULL DIVIDENDS DIDN’T SHOW

The teachers were organized and they dominated public comment Thursday night during the first public hearing for SB 23 and SB 24.

SB 23 and 24 are the bills proposed by Gov. Michael Dunleavy that would fund full Permanent Fund dividends, and also pay back the amounts that State government kept over the past three years.

The Senate State Affairs Committee heard from 65 Alaskans opposed to the governor’s bills.

The other 33 callers said they support SB 23 and 24. A handful of people were on the fence about it.

Must Read Alaska researched the voter registrations of those testifying. (Not all were found on voter rolls. Some likely are registered to vote under other names than given to the committee, or the names were spelled wrong).

The breakdown was clear: Democrats want to keep the current configuration where the State of Alaska keeps about half of everyone’s dividend and uses it to run state programs and fund education. Most of the Democrats who testified also urged income taxes.

Must Read Alaska counted 25 Democrats among those testifying, all opposed to the legislation.

16 Republicans testified. Just two of them opposed SB 23 and 24, and the rest supported.

The two registered members of the Alaskan Independence Party also supported the PFD bills.

The 22 undeclared voters testifying split between supporting and opposing the legislation.

Of the nine nonpartisan voters, only one of them supported the legislation, with the other eight opposed.

There were at least two students who testified from Sitka and both opposed the bills, saying they preferred to spend the money on education.

Sitka was the community most represented, with 25 testifiers, all of them opposed to the legislation.

Next Tuesday and Thursday the public hearing process will continue at 6 pm. Due to the volume of people calling in, the committee will limit testimony to one minute.

Anchorage callers: 907-563-9085

Juneau Callers: 907-586-9085

All other communities: 1-844-586-9085

Written testimony can be sent to senate.state.affairs@akleg.gov.

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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

  • All this Kabuki Theater is such nonsense.
    Last year, the $0.7 Billion “deficit” was caused by an excessive $1 billion payout for Dividends. The worst part of that is we borrowed money from the CBR to do it and have a future obligation to re-pay it.
    If the Dividend was only $500 last year we could have avoided dipping into the CBR which has now been raided for $12-14 Billion.
    I predict that the Legislature will pass a balanced budget based on a 5.25% draw from the Permanent Fund. Cuts will be made – a $300 million cut would allow for a $1000 Dividend without further deficit spending.
    It’s Budget cuts versus Dividends people. Taxes are off the table until the Dividend is gone – its written into the State Constitution (topic for another day).
    Changes in oil taxation policy will have to wait – we need to first put our own house in order!

    • I realize any talk of reducing or ending the Dividend is heresy and politically suicidal. Most citizens are very misinformed about their (lack of) entitlement to it – both R’s and D’s alike.
      The good news is we are extremely fortunate that we have saved $70 billion which can provide benefits to present and future Alaskans if managed properly.
      The Dividend must end – replaced by an Individual Trust Account for each resident and invested/managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. Each year your account would receive a contribution based on an appropriation by the Legislature. This essentially rewards residents who live here longer as was the original Dividend intent. This also holds the line on excessive Legislative spending……more later

      • I’m for cuts, cuts, cuts. Here are a few:
        1. Offer education vouchers for 1/2 the state allotment.
        2. Allow free market teaching using standardized testing.
        3. Move the capital to Willow and build nothing fancy.
        4. Privatize everything in government we can: tolls for roads, tolls for bush flights.
        5. Sell land.

        It would be very simple to cut the budget. Dunlevy’s budget would look rich compared to mine. If people want services, let them pay for them themselves.

        • MK I am totally with you ☺️!

  • Before we can take the education community seriously, we need to take a close look at their budgets. Umm betting across the board there are top heavy salaries and areas where funds are not being managed well. I’m curious why a small community like Eagle River/Chugiak needs as many public schools open with the small population that is there?

  • Truly those folks screaming IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN are the very one’s who have FAILED our children. It’s not for the children it’s for government union workers future lifestyle hopes and dreams and rea!ity.

    Parents can do more for their children with a full PFD and retro PFD than the God given responsible people for the children …..the PARENTS!

    Families are the foundation of this state, Not the NEA.

    • It is never for the children. Ever. Never has been. The results are crystal clear.

    • Add also it is a vehicle of social engineering for which we are now seeing the fruit across our nation. Socialism, entitlement, , no God, relativism, narcissism, big government. Add now globalism and elitism. Has been a slow process for decades. DDDD ——Train the minions to be quiet worker bees, keep them just Dumb enough (unaware), Dependent(as much as possible and the ‘free’ education is big part of this), Drugged, and now working on Defenseless (ever increasing firearm restrictions).

  • the title of this post is very misleading-nothing in the article is about teachers or evidence of organized teachers. You can do better.
    You often do.

  • F$&@k the education system and it’s directors Alaska ranks 51st on the list. Stuffing more money in this dead pig is absurd!!! Time the system in Alaska was GUTTED along with Murkowski to gain a footing and re-establish a true scholastic adherence to the meaning education!!!

    • Boom! You nailed it. We are feeding the beast that is the Union. Cadillac health care, six figure salaries for administrators who never set foot in the class room and the worst performance in the nation. If parents had their PFD monies, they could use it to get tutors for their kids (who clearly aren’t being taught properly in school) or (god forbid) choose private education. ASD’s budget is wildly unpredictable, they manage money like a drunk with a shotgun. Time to stop the insanity. It was never about the children. It was always about the money.

  • here is the deal…all you people against the basic premise of the PFD can give it back with a check to the state of Alaska general fund. I double dog dare ya.

    • I would guess what you believe about the “basic premise of the PFD” is not based in fact. There is a ton of misinformation that has been peddled over the years.
      I was here before the PFD (paying taxes) and during the formation of the PF. The Dividend is not written into the Permanent Fund Constitutional Amendment.
      You have no legal or even historical record to support a “right” or “entitlement” to a PFD.

    • I agree with this premise as long as the same would apply towards my federal income taxes. It sure would be nice to opt out of funding the most proliferate bureaucracy on earth: the Department of Defense. I’ll make you a deal. I get to withhold my federal income taxes from multi-trillion $$$ wars of choice that have utterly destroyed entire regions of the globe, and you can keep your dividend, crash the state economy and drive away teachers, caretakers, and doctors from Alaska. And if I’m still here in a couple of years, I’ll make you another offer: this one on your house once it’s lost about half of its equity. But I’m sure you’ll have fun with your thousands bucks in the meantime. Take a trip to Hawaii, buy a flatscreen or two. It’ll be great.

    • Exactly REGULARGUY! And, anyone at any time can write a check to the US TREASURY if they would like to contribute more of their hard earned money back to the “general fund” of the federal government to use as they see fit.
      .
      Is there a way we can allow all of those opposed to the PFD square up and future dividends, to cut a check or defer their distribution amount directly to the State’s education budget? Then they would truly put their money where their mouth is. They can really show they care! Then, by cutting a check it “feels” a little bit more like it is their money (even though it already is), and maybe they would want to be a bit more prudent in how it is spent. Just trying to think outside the box……….

      • This argument is an empty red herring. It’s total BS – I know – I used to use it 20 years ago but I am wiser now.
        I care – I really do. But I’ll be damned if I need to give my Dividend to you. Fair for one – Fair for all. I support your right to believe whatever nonsense you wish to believe but your rationale is totally incorrect.

  • Imagine, the public teachers union members being well organized to push their narrative!

    61% of students entering college in Alaska are not prepared for college level courses, and must take low or no credit remedial classes before starting their college level education.

    Alaska schools are failing us.

    Why should we reward that failure with OUR permanent fund money?

    • To be fair, this is a nationwide phenomenon, it’s just much much worse here where we spend 2-3 times as much…irony to some I suppose.

  • For all those folks who believe their PFD is “for the children!’, why don’t they send their PFD to the State or donate it to their school of choice? Better yet, if you oppose the PFD, then quit enrolling in it every year. And for those who endorse an income and/or sales tax, I’m sure the State would gladly accept your check every month from your income for whatever percentage you think is fair. I would gladly donate my PFD to any candidate who strongly endorses stronger laws for Charter Schools and for vouchers that would allow parents to choose where their kids are sent regardless of their zip code.

    • great idea to relay during the public comments next tue and thur…don’t apply!!! awesome!

    • I’m sure a new question can be added to the PFD application.

      Question…

      How much of your dividend are you giving to the State of Alaska to fund education? (Note: A list of education donors will be permanently posted on the State of Alaska website after the application window closes each year.)
      a. 100% – I would like to donate all of my dividend to education.
      b. 75%
      c. 50%
      d. 25%
      e. 0% – I would like to keep all of my dividend.

  • That’s all cool. We won’t use “our” PFD’s to pay the teachers, in State corrections officers or pursers we’ll use it to pay the lawyers and plaintiffs of our losing lawsuits instead.

  • Why would anyone belive the fearmongering that is going on here in Alaska. Our schools are over funded and under achieving. Why do the schools need neon reader signs in front of the school???? Why are the roofs being redone every couple years??? Why do they want to spend millions to build a school for 12 children? Why does evey classroom need oversized smart screens to replace projectors and chalk boards??? Pork Barrel spending at its finest.

  • The gentleman (testifier) in the picture is the Hoonah School District superintendent. Hoonah only has 115 students at a cost of $25,910 per student. Why have a superintendent? Part of the K12 problem–wasteful spending. These figures are fm the State Dept of Ed & Early Devlpt.

    • Well, he has no vested interest in keeping spending artificially high!

      115 students with a single superintendent? How many teachers are there, one for each grade?

    • How do I get to Hoonah? How do I get building materials for my house to Hoonah? How do the troopers get to Hoonah and where do their houses come from? When we go to the store how does the food get there? How do the grocers get there? How does my heating oil get there? What is my quality of life when I get there? Can I drive down the road to Costco, or Arbies?

      What does a box of Cheerios run in Hoonah? Does everything give us sticker shock or just your talking point?

      • Ask AOC and her new green deal! No fuel, no cars, no air travel. Just paddle on over or swim. Catch the wind. Whatever you socialists dream up next. What was the plan? Oh wait! You still need other peoples money for a while longer. You’re not quite done sucking the lifeblood out of the country yet……..
        .
        Private enterprise can figure it out I’m sure, or supplement what is left of the highway system once the State pairs it down to a manageable level.

        • Sure, private enterprise is great. Just ask Google, Amazon or Huawei. They might even let you have a job if you have enough diversity points. Or they might ship it to Southeast Asia after they rip off your intellectual property.

          .

          Say hello to your new boss, Jeff Besos, owner of the Washington Post and monopolist extraordinaire and his good buddy George Soros who he takes his political advice from.

          .

          Herpity derpity, small government, big enough to fit in Amazon’s front pocket. You’ll be right there to polish his Alexa won’t you?

          .

          You ever get tired of being a one note organ?

        • I’m a nationalist, you’re a corpratist, of course you’re confused. Having a corporation run our government is no virtue.

  • The key part about the Permanent Fund that always gets lost, from those on both sides of the issue, is that the PF was designed to KEEP MONEY OUT OF THE HANDS OF GOVERNMENT. The reason it was designed to keep money out of the hands of government is because government never, never, never in the history of mankind never spends money responsibly.

    But we should just keep spending other peoples money because it’s the easy thing to do. Who’s money is our current government spending, some might ask. They are spending our money and our children’s money, and our children’s children’s money. But some would have us just keep spending it so that they can live fat on the hog. The PF was set up to keep our money away from these hogs.

    • Yes. And the PF has done a decent job of keeping $70 billion out of the hands of the Legislature. I view the PF as a Trust Fund for present and future Alaskans. As in any Trust Fund, the Beneficiaries are reasonably entitled to draw a sustainable amount for each year’s expenses. In this case, the Legislature has determined (which is not written in stone) that drawing up to 5.25% of the Fund value each year is “sustainable”. That equates to about $3 billion/year in taxes we DON’T PAY.
      Count your blessings!

      • Some people think that government is free. A nasty feature of people used to living on handouts here in Alaska.

        • “Some people think that government is free. A nasty feature of people used to living on handouts here in Alaska.”

          No doubt, there are way too many of those hanger-on types living here. You can hear them squealing now with Governor Dunleavys budget. They want their government handout and they want it now!!!

      • As a beneficiary, a citizen, and a voter I deem the 5.25% to be unnecessary draw at this time. If you don’t think that 5.25% draw is a tax, then you do not understand the meaning of the word…which might explain your viewpoint.

        Our government is BLOATED and needs to shrink, we do not need to pay a 5.25% tax on our wealth to benefit government because they need their fix, we…the people…need to wean the addict off of the drug of our money.

        • Want to know what it’s bloated with Steve-O? Federal matching dollars. A lot of people see money being spent and don’t realize it is Federal grant money. Another feature of that money is high administrative fees and very specific project scopes.

          .

          Fed money is Rube Goldberg money, you do it the way your told or you get “Non-parred” at which point your $1 million project gets turned into a $10 million project,

          .

          You’re also stuck with the maintenance of those projects as the folks in California with the Light Rail just found out, to the tune of $2.5 billion.

          .

          The Rube Goldberg money has rules about walking away from millions of their dollars. Want to privatize AMHS? You better maintain a way to operate port faculties that will satisfy our funding “partners”, or else the State is going to end up with a crater where “our” savings were.

          .

          Want to abandon 400 airports that were paid for by the Feds? Prisons? Schools? Where’s the plan? The statement “We have budget crisis” isn’t a plan. No ch!t Sherlocks.

        • Steve-O, that 5.25% draw includes the amount allowed for PFDs (whether statutory or reduced amount).

    • Okay, government will just tax you instead. Like every other place on Earth. Congratulations, welcome to reality. You want a place without government? Move to Somalia.

      • So you apparently think our state government has cut as much as possible an we are living in the equivalent of the Arctic Somalia. If I were you and had those thoughts I would move to somewhere more suitable…like anywhere but here and Somalia.

        Enjoy your move, the rest of us will figure out the minor budget problems we have.

        Come up with some kind of good idea that keeps our government from spending us into oblivion, or at least try and contemplate a budget where we spend what we bring in.

        • We’re getting close to it in a lot of areas. What was your issue again? More free law enforcement, courts and corrections. Have we cut enough there yet? Should we start writing big fat oil backed checks to the Google/Amazon of the prison industry. Because we know that monopolistic corporations are always the best way to do everything, right Steve-O?

          Also, it would be Somalia of the North if we were counting on you to pay the first part of the law enforcement, courts and corrections budget wouldn’t it Steve-O?

    • To be clear: We must rid ourselves of the Socialist PFD, and keep a zero income tax to attract residents that are here for the right reasons. Work, Save, and Retire wherever the hell you would like to. Not Loaf, Spend, and go on Welfare til you die.

  • A very small group showed up, and all liberal teachers that believe in the lie that government, as much of it as possible, will save us all, and that money grows on trees. With that said, how many politically and fiscally conservative teachers showed up? Many, many of our teachers get it. Are they silence by their union? All of our teachers, both liberal and conservative, are over taxed by a list of frivolous, politically
    , & even ‘agenda’ driven, subjects they are required to impart while still producing literate students. It’s overwhelming. The gross excess of cost per student per year is not the fault of teachers, nor does it represent any exorbitant teacher salary.
    With that said, our public school system is an over priced behemoth of an industry that is socialist agenda driven, fueled by NEA, and becoming more and more ineffective. An element of fault also lies with the ever increasing breakdown of families, as truly a successful student does start ‘in the home’, requiring a base of safety, stability and healthy support. It is a mess, but one that the constant funneling of more money will not solve.

  • Maybe now’s the time to figure out how to break the teachers’ union in Alaska…
    .
    Nothing against teachers or education, that’s not the point…
    .
    Point is, Alaska’s education industry seems to have morphed into a union-management cartel with the power to dictate policy to legislators and productive Alaskans…
    .
    We must simply endure this racket, pay its leaders whatever they want, whenever they want?
    .
    Or can we, with Governor Duneavy’s help, tear down this cartel and build a classically modelled education system that works for students instead of an impenetrable empire that works for itself?
    .
    What say you, Gentle Readers?

    • Yes, Unions always make things more expensive and have long outlived their usefulness. Janus vs. AFSMCE was Step 1. NEA is next. It’s an extortion racket. They extort money from members and from tax payers. Students and teachers suffer – union fat cats and administrators get rich. We get 49th in education.

  • I’m thinking all this taxation vs PFD vs cutting budgets needs to go to a vote of the people. It has become too contentious to do otherwise. I’m not certain how you would phrase it exactly on the ballot. Maybe the Governor is right about no new taxation or changes to the PFD without the people approving it by direct vote.

  • How the heck do you “show up” for legislative comments when the “comments and legislature” are in Juneau and you live in Seward, Kenai, Homer, Fairbanks, et.al.? I would gladly drive to Wasilla to garner the opportunity to address such a serious issue, but I can’t drive to Juneau and I can’t afford to fly back and forth like the politicians (on other peoples dime). I have long supported moving the state capitol to Wasilla or Anchorage to make the political process available to “less than rich constituents” of the politicians deciding on the very future of me, our city, our state and everything in between. Phoning in does not have the impact of looking the politicians in the eye when you need an answer from them. They like it that way. (67 year resident of Alaska)

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