Will tomorrow's PFD be the last one you'll ever see? - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, July 11, 2020
HomeThe 907Will tomorrow’s PFD be the last one you’ll ever see?

Will tomorrow’s PFD be the last one you’ll ever see?

The 2020 Permanent Fund dividend check will hit the pocketbooks of Alaskans starting tomorrow. Some 90 percent of eligible Alaskans will get the funds deposited directly into their bank accounts. The rest will see the funds mailed to them later in July or as their eligibility is determined.

Some of the checks will be garnished and go directly for past child support payments or other debts.

This year’s oil royalty check will be $992, one third of what is should have been under the statutory calculation, but all that the Alaska Legislature’s majority members could give, since they needed the rest of the Permanent Fund dividend dollars to pay for government programs.

July 1 isn’t just when the dividends will start arriving — it’s the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year. And the budget that was approved for the coming year is already going to come up short.

The Alaska Department of Revenue forecasts a budget deficit of several hundred million dollars next year. In fact, even if Alaskans don’t get a Permanent Fund dividend next year, the budget will still be short on cash, due to precipitously dropping oil prices.

For the coming year, Unrestricted General Fund (UGF) revenue, before accounting for the transfer from the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve, is forecast to drop from $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2020 to $1.2 billion in FY 2021.

The revenue for the UGF portion of the budget is expected to be less than $0.7 billion from oil and gas, and less than $0.4 billion for other sources.

The Permanent Fund is expected to transfer $2.9 billion to the General Fund in FY 2020 and $3.1 billion in FY 2021. These amounts include funds for both payment of dividends and general government spending.

But while the revenues are in tough shape, due to global economic forces, the State Legislature has approved $5.3 billion in spending for FY 2021.

Legislators are going to be in a tough spot next year. While Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked for significant cuts during his first year in office, the public and many in the Legislature took that as an affront, and a recall campaign began against him.

This year, he took a softer approach, although he did veto $210 million in unrestricted general funds (UGF) spending approved by the Legislature. He didn’t veto so much as to attract a veto override, as legislators are now beginning to realize the gravity of the state’s financial situation. The shortfall in the 2021 budget is believed to be another $200 million or more.

With low oil prices and production, the revenue-to-spending ratio has only worsened, and the Constitutional Budget Reserve has been nearly drained.

As of May 31, the balance of the Constitutional Budget Reserve was $1.93 billion, which will not be enough to make up the difference for the 2022 budget, especially if any of the funds are needed to patch up the 2021 budget this fall.

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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

  • Even more reason to clean house in Juneau. And while we’re at it how about moving the Legislature over to the Highway system where the thieves can be a bit more uncomfortable under the thumbs of the constituents that they are cheating out of their PFD.

    • And their travel and housing costs could be mostly eliminated, saving taxpayers a fortune

    • Cut all the feel good programs. Cut a majority of the funds that go to nonprofits to fill their pocket books.

    • The legislature is on the highway system. You get on the highway, you drive down to Seward or Whittier or Homer, and then you connect with the Marine Highway, and then it will take you to the highway in Juneau. Unfortunately, unlike the free highways that the citizens of South Central are accustomed to, the Marine highways cost you money. Essentially they are the most expensive state-run toll roads in the nation. Transportation infrastructure, one of the core functions of government.

      • This plan is ridiculous for many people..Though some people could do this..and this is not on the road system. The road system is Fairbanks to Homer and Tok, Valdez.

  • Fact is that we, the responsible public, have not made the case strong enough that they, the legislators, must cut programs and address the state revenue versus cost imbalance or get out of the way. And, if they don’t we must move them out of the way regardless of party affiliation. The PFD can not even be part of the discussion until the state financial house is in order.

  • Exactly!

    • Not only did they spend wastefully in the past but they’re chopping at the bits to line their greedy pockets & are ready to steal every dime from Alaskans, The one’s that voted against Alaskans receiving the PFD needs to be voted out in the upcoming elections. Together Alaskans can stop them. Their greed will be the end of our entire economy in the near future. They must go liars & thieves.
      Alaskans need all of their money especially now through this virus epidemic. Alaskans voted Walker out & can do the same with these politicians. Shame on them. God is watching them all.

  • It may be. It will be my last one. No longer and Bryce steal money from me. I do feel sorry for my native friends. His pockets aren’t deep enough for them.

  • As always, only MustReadAK gives us the entire picture. The Daily News, Newsminer, AP, etc. leave out the real choices, and they always work into the story that Walker proposed an income tax and other taxes but those nasty Republicans would have none of it. Everyone knew there was a fiction embedded in the Walker tax story because the income tax would have to be far larger than Walker’s Revenue Commissioner was saying, a state income tax is no longer deductible from income when calculating federal taxes except for a very few remaining Alaskans who itemize, an income tax would actually require 400 new Revenue employees in Juneau, etc. etc.

    • Cut all money to these welfare recipients. No I don’t mean poor Alaskans. I mean the leeches on the public dollar in Juneau— entrenched politicians with full medical, travel expenses, national and international trips, per diem for first class hotels and restaurants. Their word to Alaskans is, we need your bread (PFD) so we can eat cake.

  • $1.5 billion GF can come out of the operating budget, and that is what is needed to right size our government with out current economy. If you don’t work for state or municipal government you won’t feel it. The pandemic has taught us that tele-education works in K-12, and that is the only realistic answer to how to fund rural schools where there are no property taxes. Money-losing enterprise funds like Marine Highways, RR, state parks, and the University need a different model, one that reflects both the 21st century and the much reduced state output of goods. Oil property taxes now diverted to a small number of municipal governments to buy executive jets and full employment in Barrow needs to benefit all Alaskans. Yes, the PFD must remain until or unless a vote of the people says otherwise.

  • Alaska is going downhill fast. I moved my family of six, plus the in-laws, to Anchorage several years ago when the PFD was about $2,000 per year. Do the math — about $16,000 for the eight of us, minus the cut that Uncle Sam steals. Plus no sales tax and no income tax. We got the kids free medical care through Denali Kid Care. The special education classes for two of my boys were pretty good. Decent unemployment benefits when you need them. Subsidized housing allowed us to have a roof over our heads. But now the town is filled with public fornicaters and bums who use their PFD to buy booze and drugs. If the future checks are only going to be around $900 a year, my family just cannot afford to live here. We need politicians who will fight for bigger checks. The first candidate who promises a $5,000 PFD will get my vote. Don’t let the liberals steal your hard earned money.

    • Sounds like you are a heavier drain on the social welfare system. You’ll be ok wherever you end up. Why stay on Los anchorage?

      • Agreed! If you are depending on the PFD to get by then you’re not doing something right. Learn to make it on you’re own instead of leaning on the American taxpayer. Assistance programs were set in place to help people in time of need not to be used as a lifestyle. And the PFD shouldn’t be used that way either.
        # if you can’t feed ‘em them don’t have them. Be responsible for yourself.

      • For real! He talked about bums and boozers, but he is not better living off the system in public housing. Should’ve been trying to buy a home and get one of Alaskas many jobs! Seems to me he’s the bum!

    • What exactly was it you did that was hard to earn that money? Sounds to me like you are a consumate freeloader.

      • The thing is, he thinks this is normal.

      • And breeding more of them.

        Pack your car, Eric. You’re good to go.

      • My Question..What about your in-laws.? Aren’t they supporting themselves??..If not THAT IS your problem??? ..Unless they work and support themselves, you’re being snookered by your own family. Living together is one thing; expecting to support family with in-laws with free loading off the government is another.

    • Maybe you are the ones we Alaskans would like to move out….what have you and yours done for this great state?

    • It must be pretty tight with eight people in that single-wide.

    • Folks, better check your troll detectors on this post.

    • Sounds like it’s time to have more kids. Got any relatives outside you can move up? Can they have kids? If they are going to keep cutting the checks you need to make it up on volume. Think outside of the box!

      • That is the way many think. When I lived on the rec in New Mexico, there were old women that had 5-6 govt cards. When someone died, it was the first one to the body that got the card. It had been some time since they did a tribal census. The card enabled them to cash monthly checks. Get a free tank of gas, etc. They learned the system well.

    • I agree, Eric S. It seems like you need some job skills to EARN money like the majority of us. Don’t relocate to Anchorage just because of benefits you receive for being lazy. Sorry not sorry…a lot of us have to earn money to live the lifestyle you’ve been living while sitting around collecting “free” checks.

    • If you need a Permanent Fund dividend to live here, you should not be living here.

    • Eric, you’re good but just not good enough to snag me. Keep honing your troll skills.

  • Sounds like California is the place for you. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  • Is there any way that the general public can see what the state is spending on what programs? I’d like to see a public audit if at all possible. If they are going to take money that is supposed to go to Alaskans under the state’s constitution, then I think it is time for Alaskans to have a say in where the money goes. We have that right and we need to take it.

    • First, you need to vote out the house majority.

    • Well, last time I checked, you vote for legislators, and they pass budgets. You do vote, right?

    • Yes. The report is called a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). You can find them by fiscal year at doa.alaska.gov/dof/reports/cafr.html. Feel free to compare the numbers against other states. Our costs per capita will shock you.

    • There are some very fundamental flaws with the way most governments approach and prepare budgets. Mostly, they take prior year amounts and just add an inflation escalator. There is very little incentive to achieve goals while coming in under budget. That is why governmental agencies are concerned with “using up” the funding by year-end to ensure they get at least the same amount next year. It is a wasteful model that only governmental and nonprofit sectors use, private industries do not, or they go out of business. This is not the only way to budget, however. Our state could adopt zero based budgeting (ZBB) which essentially “zeroes out” the prior period budget and each line must be reviewed and replaced individually. It is more labor intensive, but holds each line of the budget accountable.

  • Summary: Kicked can finally reaches end of road.

  • The POMV is choking off the huge profits that the Fund has made the last two years, 9.1 billion and 7.9 billion respectively. The Leg knows it’s not bound by the POMV, but it’s better from their perspective to claim a budget shortfall and to take the Dividend, which they now see as theirs. This is the false narrative that they and the mainstream media are foisting on to Alaskas. I am sad to see that Suzanne has fallen for it. So, yes, this may well be the last Dividend Alaskans will see, if the Legislature continues to hoard the Earnings, and the Mainstream Media continues to back using the Dividends to balance the Budget… How sad is that ?

    • Thanks Alaska. I’m chartering a big boat and going out mahi mahi fishing on the 5th. Thanks Bryce for not taking it all.

  • I suspect that none of this PFD will be garnished for child support. I used to get garnished money from my daughters mom. Child Support Enforcement only puts in the garnishment order at the end of July. I suspect that unless they were really on top of this July 1 date, all the folks hoping to get money from a PFD are SOL! Additionally, case workers regularly “forgot” to put in the order so you were SOL that way too. Pretty sure that only happened to men who were collecting from women, tho!
    Thinking other folks hoping to get money from a dividend are also unlikely to collect. I don’t remember just when the July 1 date was official but likely many didn’t have time to get a court, or other order to garnish someone’s dividend.

  • Too bad you don’t have any “hard earned money” of your own! (Sounds like yours is all cushy welfare.) Alaska’s dole not big enough for you? You’re more than welcome to leave anytime! Don’t worry about where you’re going to go…obviously having a job or housing lined up beforehand isn’t a concern of YOURS but the residents of your adopted community! (That would be the LIBERALS caring for your family, just so you’re clear on who’s getting what from whom.)

  • The PFD is dead.

    Alaska’s 44 years of incompetent and irresponsible legislators have already seen to it that the fund is gone. You can lament the loss of whatever it is you think you did to earn a right to that money but the reality is that you did nothing and often those that relied on the program the most we’re those that encouraged special interest spending that was approved and helped to insure the eventual death of the program.

    For those inclined toward thinking long term the question would be ‘once the PFD’s exhausted by a ravenous and grossly overstaffed and inefficient State government, then what’?

    There is no good answer to that question but it would be best for Alaska if those that relied on special interest funding and the PFD simply left. Sooner than later.

    Everyone is at fault but if you’re socially parasitic, you’re more so.

  • Well Mr. Eric S. maybe it’s time for your family to get a job and quit relying on all the free things you get. My husband and I work very hard and our kids don’t even qualify for the free things you and your family get. Stop relying on us hard working tax paying citizens and the pfd to support you and your family. It’s just ridiculous how people can sit back and have kids they cannot support. Maybe you should move your family back to where you could afford to provide for them and quit sucking up all the free things.

    • I want my free sh*t. I always paid taxes. Never got nor asked for a hand out. I want it now though.

  • I would like to see the the House and Senate move to the BP Building in Anchorage when it is vacated. I believe if more people could face the members of House and Senate they would take a more active role. The only objection to Anchorage it that it is so liberal but so is Juneau. I also think that we would save on per diem.

    It would be nice not to have that beautiful BP building and grounds setting vacant and I think it would be perfect for this move.

  • It is past the time to eliminate the PFD. At the very least make it needs based. Consider putting in escrow PFDs to minors. Does anyone really believe that minors benefit from PFD payments?

    • Most kids I know buy their own school clothes and Honda gas. Rifles and such.

    • Seems like I remember the citizens did vote to move the capital. I saw how much good that did. But let’s recall anyone with the courage to try and control the budget.

      Donald Smith, for my four children born and raised in Anchorage, every PFD went into a college fund. They all got thier degrees and came out debt free.

  • Did you even hold a job or own a house to pay property taxes? Seems like you moves here just to suck off the system?

  • Your Alaska legislature is now culpable in destroying the ability of Alaska to live within its means. The legislature will come for your money now in the form of income taxes. The PFD program is a victim of these thieves.

    • You Sir, are correct.

      PFD’s done. Taxes are the top discussion of 2021.

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