Support for the $3,000 dividend

More than a few lawmakers are urging Gov. Mike Dunleavy to stick to his guns in demanding a full, $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend for Alaskans this year.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers told Dunleavy in a letter Friday they supported paying Alaskans their 2019 Permanent Fund Dividends according to the full statutory formula. Under that formula, established by law in 1982, each Alaskan would get a $3,000 dividend.

“Alaskans are fully justified in expecting their dividends to be distributed based on this traditional formula,” the lawmakers wrote, “Similarly, they are justified in feeling angry and shortchanged by the Legislature’s unilateral decision to not pay the full amount owed to Alaskans.”

Those who signed the letter include: Sens. Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, Shelly Hughes, R-Palmer, Peter Micciche, R-Kenai, Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and Reps. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, Sharon Jackson, R-Eagle River, Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage, Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, Dave Talerico, R-Healy, and Sarah Vance, R-Homer.

Lawmakers have sent the governor budget legislation including a $1,600 dividend. He has vowed he would settle for nothing less than a $3,000 dividend and has yet to sign the legislation into law.

Instead of relying on the 1982 statute to set the dividend’s amount, some lawmakers have opted to instead use political whim and expediency to set the amount.

It is nice to see some lawmakers still have respect for the law.

4 Responses to Support for the $3,000 dividend

  1. Randy S. Griffin Fairbanks Alaska August 11, 2019 at 10:53 am

    If those above-mentioned legislators really cared about fiscal responsibility rather than trying to suck up extra votes to get reelected, they would reject the monstrous budget-busting $3000 dividend.

    I am planning to reject any dividend check that I receive in October, unless it fits within a balanced budget (about $900). Also, I must see at least a token deposit made to the CBR which needs to be replenished after becoming nearly depleted after 4 years of budget deficits.

    If those legislators insist on a $3000 PFD for those who will vote for them (and everyone else), would they at least have the decency to publicly say that they will not accept their own personal PFD check, and will instead mail it to the state’s general fund, so as to help close the deficit? That’s what I have done for the past 4 years.

    Or will these legislators flagrantly and brazenly lead their greedy and short-sighted constituents over the cliff and into the mire of moral debauchery.

    “Respect for the law” (1982 PFD formula) is a convenient scapegoat that these legislators can use to suck up extra votes. The fact is, it is 100% legal (based on Alaska Supreme Court decision) to pass out an amount of free money that is affordable and that does not cause a deficit.

    It may be 100% legal, but is it moral? Yes, because I did no work to earn $3000, or even $900. I did no work to earn all the free state services I receive (troopers, courts, crime control, snow plowing, infrastructure, education, etc.). I am simply blessed. My only obligation is to vote for sane and honest legislators who will work for a balanced budget, rather than for a candidate who is trying to buy my vote with a padded stack of free cash.

    Reply
  2. paula zimmerman August 11, 2019 at 11:38 am

    The Governor called for a special session in Wasilla but only 22 of the 60 legislators followed the law and showed up to do the work for the people. The rest stayed in Juneau because they were afraid to go to Wasilla(so they said).One of their own went to Wasilla and then went to Juneau so they took away from her all they could to make it more difficult for her to do her job, representing her constituents. The group in Juneau did not have enough votes to call themselves into session and they did not have enough votes to veto the Governor’s vetoes. But they stayed in Juneau anyway and collected the per diem that they were not entitled to.
    And all we are hearing about now is how Governor Dunleavy broke all of these laws.
    Am I missing something? The legislators that stayed in Juneau are the ones that have broken numerous laws and seem to be proud that they got away with it.
    STAND TALL GOVERNOR, you have our support. Follow the law and veto the $1600.!

    Reply
  3. Mayor Dan August 12, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    The $3,000 PFD is not budget busting, it comes from a separate pot of money unrelated (until recently) to the state budget. Yes the court ruled it is an appropriation, but that doesn’t make appropriating it right. Give government another pot of money and it won’t be long before whatever split they decide in a POMV formula is changed in favor of more money to government. I’m actually starting to think that a one time payout of half of the PF is more acceptable than this constant bickering, ignoring of statutes, and divisiveness. An issue this big should be put to a vote so legislators truly know the will of the people they are supposed to represent.

    Reply
  4. Randy S. Griffin Fairbanks Alaska August 12, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    The state has many pots of money – the Constitutional Budget Reserve, the Permanent Fund, the General Fund, the Statutory Budget Reserve and maybe 20-plus more pots.

    We found out about those extra pots when we heard about the automatic yearly “sweep” (money from little pots swept into the CBR). And then there is the “reverse sweep” (the legislature votes to “sweep” that money back out of the CBR and back into the little pots). Some of these little pots contain scholarship money and Power Cost Equalization money to help out rural communities.

    Yes, these pots of money are separate, but they are all owned equally by the people of Alaska – collectively. If $1 million is taken out of the general fund to pay Caterpillar for some new road graders, then we the Alaskan people are $1 million poorer as far as our collective ownership of cash is concerned. However, we then become $1 million richer in our collective ownership of road maintenance equipment.

    If $1 million is taken from the Permanent Fund and given to 625 private citizens, then we the people are $1 million poorer, as far as our collective ownership of cash is concerned. However, each of those 625 citizens are $1600 richer, because of the $1600 PFD checks they receive. (Of course, many of them will have to give about $400 of that PFD to the IRS). (Of course, more than 625 citizens get a PFD check, and more than $1 million is sucked out of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve Account for that purpose.)

    My point is that all this shuffling around of state money needs to be taken into account, in order to get an accurate view of the entire state budget.

    One way to diminish the “bickering” and the “ignoring of statutes” is to change the old 1982 PFD formula from 50% of Perm Fund earnings to 1/4 of that (12.5%). Then the new statute should also specify that the legislature may increase the PFD to above the 12.5% floor, if there are additional surplus funds available.

    Then instead of a depressing yearly debate of how much to cut the PFD in order to get the budget to balance, the legislature would be debating on how much to increase the PFD above the 12.5% floor. Then all the people would be happy, because they would be getting a little something extra.

    The people would also be motivated to seek cost savings and efficiencies in government, because everyone would want a bonus added to their basic 12.5% PFD.

    Reply

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