AS ELECTION GETS CLOSER, HIS DIVIDEND PROMISE GETS BIGGER
The televised “Debate for the State” had no fireworks on Thursday, but there were a few gems worth noting:
The first is that few in the news media knows how to pronounce Mike Dunleavy’s last name.
The proper pronunciation is Dun-lavy, which rhymes with “navy.”
Newscaster Mike Ross got it right — most of the time.
“I don’t care how people pronounce it, so long as they vote for him,” said Brett Huber, Dunleavy’s campaign manager.
Secondly, candidate Mark Begich exposed his soft and pliable position on the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
“The earnings reserve has about $18 billion in it right now which the Legislature can access with a simple majority vote. I would put a chunk of that in the corpus, keep it away from these politicians,” Begich said.
“The next thing I would do is a percent of market value. Making sure we have a formula, so 50 percent as that formula lays out, would go right into the Permanent fund dividend. And constitutionally protect it. [I’m the] only one in this race that has talked about constitutionally protecting it, keeping it in your hands. The value of that would be about $2,100 this year.”
Earlier this year, Begich described his plan for the dividend calculation completely differently, saying Alaskans “would be a guaranteed a PFD between $1,500 and $1,800 each year.”
As the election gets closer, his math has changed substantially. And any change would have to be passed by the Legislature.
“That’s one of the differences — the steadfast positions of Mike Dunleavy and the flavor of the moment with Begich,” said Tuckerman Babcock, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party.
In March, Begich wrote that 40 percent of annual earnings would go to education, which would allow the money being used there now to go to other programs. Last night, however, he increased that education spending to 50 percent of the earnings of Alaska’s Permanent Fund.
Rich Mauer asked a question of Dunleavy meant to challenge him on climate change: Shouldn’t we do our part for climate change, like Brazil does, Mauer asked.
Dunleavy said “I beg to differ.” He pointed out that Alaska has less than one tenth of one percent of the population of the world, whereas Brazil has a population of hundreds of millions.
On the question of switching to a mail-in election, Begich would implement vote-by-mail for the state elections, and said he doesn’t consider voter fraud a problem. He heralded the Anchorage mail-in election as a success.
Dunleavy said he received a ballot at his home in Wasilla to vote in the Anchorage vote-by-mail election, and said that gave him concerns about voter fraud. He also pointed out the voter fraud identified in District 15 during the 2018 Primary election as an example of why he’d take a cautious approach to switching to mail-in elections.
Both candidates headed to Southeast Alaska today — Dunleavy is in Ketchikan and Begich is in Juneau.