Knock it off. Do the work.
Today is a good example of why many Alaskans are not all that fond of their government.
Legislators are set to meet in two different cities for a special session to determine the size of the Permanent Fund dividend in a show of unrivaled silliness.
One group will be in Wasilla, where Gov. Mike Dunleavy called the session. The group generally supports Dunleavy’s call for a full, statutorily calculated dividend this year, which would amount to about $3,000 for every Alaskan.
The second, larger, group is slated to meet in Juneau, despite not having enough votes to legally call itself into session. It generally supports a smaller dividend, perhaps as low as $900. It is easy to understand why it would want to meet in Juneau, far away from the public.
It dividend brouhaha pits the money-to-the-people bunch against the money-to-the-government crowd.
Despite the passions and anger over the dividend, nothing likely will happen today. All of this mess is for show – and ego – at Alaskans’ expense.
None of this should be a surprise. This Legislature has shown its colors since Day One.
The House, if you recall, fooled around for 30 days while lawmakers fought for power. Then, after the first special session, which left the dividend question unanswered, they decided to take their $302-a-day per diem. That, despite a law passed last year that denied them those payments if there were no budget by the end of the regular 121-day session. There was not a budget until three weeks into the special session.
Many lawmakers want to ignore a 1982 law that set how the dividend is calculated. Instead, they want to follow a law passed last year that leaves the dividend amount to political expediency and whim.
This Legislature has not distinguished itself and none of this serves the people of Alaska. Our advice: Knock it off. Meet in Wasilla or get the votes to meet someplace else.
Do the people’s work.