Cutting the PFD to save it
Alaskans’ bank accounts got a little fatter this week as the state sent out this year’s $1,600 Permanent Fund dividend to every qualified man, woman and child.
It should have been more.
Alaskans have gotten their cut of the state’s oil wealth for decades, that is until the Legislature and our Republican-cum-independent-cum-undeclared-cum independent-again Gov. Bill Walker whacked it in about half – for the third year in a row. That is a lot of money that never made it into the economy.
This year’s dividend alone would have been closer to $3,000 per person if paid out under the state’s normal formula.
The story from Walker is that to save the dividend he had to cut it in half – during a recession. That from a guy who told the Anchorage Daily News during his first gubernatorial bid:
“I have no intention to implement a statewide tax or paying for state government by reducing Permanent Fund dividend checks. If we properly develop our natural resources and put in place a sustainable budget that should not be necessary.”
His cut-to-save logic is fueling a lot of heat in Walker’s re-election bid, with many Alaskans believing the claim in laughable; that state government should be cut further and the dividends – which they see as their money – be restored.
Claiming he saved the dividend, after all, has not put more money in Alaskans’ bank accounts, or made life easier for Alaskans. If anything, it has inflamed those who feel he ripped them off. Walker, et al., will feel their pain in a few weeks.
It will be tough sledding in the November election for those who helped themselves to Alaskans’ dividends; tough sledding, indeed.