Will he or won’t he?

A cynic may tell you it is looking a little iffy for a full, statutory $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend this year.

As Gov. Mike Dunleavy reconsiders some of his $444 million in line-item vetoes, in areas such as University of Alaska cuts, early education and elderly benefits, you have to wonder where the money to fund them again likely will come from.

Some of it could come from the state’s shrinking savings or even the Permanent Fund earnings reserve, but your dividend is an easy and likely source.

The seemingly endless fight over the size of this year’s dividend has been characterized by big-government advocates as nothing more than greedy, selfish Alaskans who want free money versus those who only want what is best for the state. In fact, it has been a fight between those who recognize our state government if bloated beyond hope and various interests that profit from keeping government large and growing larger.

The problem? There is a finite amount of money. If more goes to government it means less for dividends. Think of what government takes from your dividend for its use as a tax.

When the Legislature decided to ignore the 1982 law that specifies how the dividend should be calculated and opted, instead, to make that decision subject to political whim, it did two things. It ensured the eventual demise of the dividend because government will grow to consume it, and it ensured a steady, new supply of money.

Many had hoped Dunleavy’s insistence on the full, $3,000 dividend and deep budget cuts would serve to rein in government by reducing the amount of money available to feed it, but now even groups that support a full dividend are begging Dunleavy to settle for less this year.

We remain hopeful the governor will stay the course and reject the $1,600 dividend the Legislature has sent him for approval in favor of a full $3,000 dividend, but we have our doubts.

One Response to Will he or won’t he?

  1. A.M. Johnson August 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    So it is just the two of us. you and Me!!!

    Here is a copy of my recent letter to the Representative of distric 36, Dan Ortiz.

    Representative Ortiz (Dan)

    Knowing your mind is made up on the matter of the dividend payout will not prevent me from reminding you of a simple fact, aside from the claim of the court, it remains a matter of “Law”.

    “If you don’t like the law, change the law, If you do not follow the law, then you do not have lawful government, you have anarchy.”

    Current law directs the trustees of the Permanent Fund Corp. to transfer fund revenue into the Earnings Reserve Account for PFD distribution. These funds are never placed in the general fund for government spending according to this law. The entire PFD process is automatically governed by statute; no further appropriation or action is required by the Legislature or the governor to make the full payment to every Alaskan.

    Dan, This has noting to do with I can or not, live without a dividend of any amount, it has everything to do with the law.

    Respectfully,

    A.M.Johnson

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For information, sizing, and rates of banner advertising space we have available, please e-mail Mark Hopkin at markh@porcaro.me, or call him at (907) 276-4262.