Mackie Plan, anyone?

Are you tired of seeing the Permanent Fund dividend being used as a blunt instrument in legislative street fights? Are you weary of watching sticky-fingered pols raking off half your dividend to support a government that simply is too large? Are you sick of the continual whining and fighting?

It is time to resurrect the Mackie Plan.

For the last three years, you lost more than half your potential dividends. First, former Gov. Bill Walker vetoed half of your dividend in 2016. Then, the Legislature grabbed about half in each of the past two years. Now, despite a 1982 law specifying how the dividend is to be calculated, lawmakers are trying to decide how much you will get this year – and in years to come.

Why not forge a deal that makes everyone happy? The icing on the cake? You could walk away with about $45,000. There is a way.

Then-Craig Republican lawmaker and majority leader Sen. Jerry Mackie in 2000 came up with an ingenious plan.

Alaska, then as now, was sinking in a sea of red ink caused by low oil prices, and lawmakers were desperate to use the Permanent Fund to close the gap rather than cut government. But they feared touching the pot of money, which had become Alaska’s political third rail.

A Sept. 14, 1999, advisory vote confirmed their worst fears and turned backbones to jelly when 84 percent of Alaskans marched to the polls and rejected a proposal to use fund earnings to help pay for government.

Mackie’s plan was contained on a Senate joint resolution that would have become a constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds approval of the Legislature, along with voters’ approval. It would have handed about $14 billion from the then-$27.5 billion fund to Alaska residents.

What would have been left, $12 billion to $14 billion, would have helped pay for state government.

Under the plan, each resident would have pocketed about $25,000, the dividend program would have ended and the rest of the Permanent Fund would have been managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. for government.

“This is probably the only way, in my mind, that the people are going to accept any use of the fund,” Mackie said at the time.

There were long and heated discussions, but, alas, the Mackie Plan sank into obscurity.

That was then; this is now. With today’s fund at a healthy $65 billion, every man, woman and child who is a resident of Alaska would get a check for about $45,000 under that plan, and more than $30 billion still would remain available for government operations.

Lawmakers of late have been telling Alaskans they need half their dividend for government. If they do, indeed, truly need half, let us just get it over with. Give Alaskans their half in one fell swoop. Anybody opposing the plan is admitting they want to, over time, increase the amount going to government while squeezing the dividend to zero.

To head that off, dust off the Mackie Plan and let Alaskans vote. It would end the Permanent Fund dividends and fights over their amounts, provide ample money for government and give each Alaskan a healthy nest egg.

It is a win-win.

6 Responses to Mackie Plan, anyone?

  1. Randy S. Griffin Fairbanks Alaska June 2, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I’m against the Mackie Plan.

    The article says:
    “Anybody opposing the plan is admitting they want to, over time, increase the amount going to government while squeezing the dividend to zero.”

    I refuse to admit it.

    I think it’s fine to get a dividend (PFD). But I feel it should be earned. The people should roll up their sleeves and cut wasteful spending so that there is an honest and sustainable budget surplus (without a state income tax). Whatever the surplus is, is how big the dividend will be. That is true motivation for citizens to want to streamline government.

    One thing the people could do, is support getting rid of collective bargaining for state and city workers.

    One reason I’m against the Mackie Plan is because a person from the outside who has only been here for a year (and all their kids) would each get $45,000. Yet they have done absolutely nothing to earn that money. Then, they will all, no doubt, move out of Alaska with the loot, where it is warmer and cheaper.

    Reply
    • John London June 2, 2019 at 11:11 am

      I agree, if enacted, only 5 year residents at least…would get the dough.

      Most would pee it away, many on booze and drugs.

      The PFD was intended to be a stock divided. Many elites live on their stock dividend, and don’t let anyone fool you A LOT of that $ was not earned, or earned legally, like some say the PFD is not earned.

      Many Republicans dislike the PFD because they don’t like any money that you don’t have to earn working for them, in practice and theory.

      I would think that only about half of state government is necessary. A lot of it is nepotism where gravy train cradle to grave jobs/retirement make a giant sucking sound and your oil stock dividend money go’s down that useless evil drain.

      Reply
    • John London June 3, 2019 at 9:53 am

      FACTS: Government is not going to get much smaller…EVER..so lets stop the dreams and folly and go fishing.

      Even if a small amount of losers abscond with the money and head south the bulk of the citizens would get their OIL STOCK EARNED DIVIDEN and we would be minus the losers and local business would do great. Win-Win

      Reply
  2. A.M. Johnson June 2, 2019 at 9:50 am

    “One reason I’m against the Mackie Plan is because a person from the outside who has only been here for a year (and all their kids) would each get $45,000. Yet they have done absolutely nothing to earn that money. Then, they will all, no doubt, move out of Alaska with the loot, where it is warmer and cheaper.”

    Well, Ya, So- the bums leave and with that, all the welfare and cost related to bums goes with them, (Hopefully). If there is no future in sticking about, with a pile of money what you say will develop leaving those of us with roots remaining.

    I am not saying I am in full agreement, open more to discussion and ramifications by calm reasonable heads. (Lacking in the current legislature and scary as to future members of same)

    Reply
  3. Morrigan June 4, 2019 at 9:09 am

    With respect, Mr. Editor, the Mackie Plan is a false choice.
    .
    Alaskans better take their $45K right now, while they can, because the legislature is “coming after” our pot of gold, and they’ll take it all if they want, because they can?
    .
    Alaskans are “tired”, so they need to give into the tantrums of the Party of Hillary Clinton, baby butchery, corruption, profligate waste, and out-of-control spending?
    .
    Thank God, American history is not replete with “tired” Americans who gave into every tyranny that camped on their doorstep!
    .
    Productive Alaskans should take a $45K bribe, give up their PFD’s, mind their own business, then the Party of Hillary Clinton, etc., won’t stiff them a with a sales tax, income tax, or an education-industry tax because the Party’ll have all the money it needs forever; plus the Party will restore private subsurface mineral rights for which the PFD was partial compensation?
    .
    How about this for a “Plan”?
    .
    Take our PFD’s, voters take your jobs… lobbyist and union hacks be damned.
    .
    Seems simple, no?

    Reply
  4. Keith Morris June 20, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Implement the Mackie Plan today and 1/2 of the state will be living exactly where Jerry is living today (Not Alaska)!

    Reply

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