Dividend cut a hard campaign sell

As the rumors start to fly concerning next year’s gubernatorial election and political junkies begin handicapping who will be running, one thing is clear – it clearly could be a crowded field, at least on the Republican side.

There certainly will be no lack of issues, or hopefuls, in the race but front-and-center will be the Permanent Fund dividend.

Gov. Bill Walker, a Republican-cum-independent-cum-nonpartisan who says he is thinking about running again – whether as a Republican is unclear – vetoed $666 million appropriated by the Legislature for the 2016 dividend, leaving individual Alaskans with a $1,000 dividend instead of the $2,052 they would have received.

That $666 million has not been used to pay down the state’s $2.5 million budget gap. It is sitting in the state treasury drawing interest. A lawsuit to have it returned to Alaskans is pending. The Senate voted a few days ago on a measure that would have taken a giant step toward giving back the money. Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 23, the capital budget, that would have appropriated the amount withheld by Walker. Inexplicably, it was voted down.

One of the questions political prognosticators are asking is whether Walker will again cut this year’s dividend, expected in some quarters to be larger than last year’s. Let’s say, based on nothing but sheer whimsy, that this year’s dividend will be $2,500 when it is calculated at the end of June.

For a family of four, that would be $10,000 – quite a windfall. For the family. For the economy. If Walker this year were to again knock the dividends down to $1,000 it would cost that family $6,000.

We cannot imagine a tougher campaign sell than “Hi, I just cost you and yours $6,000 – vote for me.”

It will be interesting.









7 Responses to Dividend cut a hard campaign sell

  1. Peter Pritchard May 16, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Para 4, Million not Billion…

  2. John London May 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

    5 year minimum resident’s requirement should be required for dividend.

    Many hate seeing those coming here just for free money and that would help solve the problem fast!

  3. Observer May 17, 2017 at 12:04 am

    All of which establishes that there is an unlimited appetite for “more” once government starts to hand out money to people just because it feels good.

    I recommend that readers examine Venezuela.

  4. Morrigan May 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

    All of which establishes that there are a lot of common-core who have no idea what a “dividend” is.

    May I recommend that (literate) readers examine Alaska’s Constitution and figure out ways to fight back, starting, for example, with recalls.

    • Observer May 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Just took a look at Article IX, Section 15 of the Consitution. This is the provision that establishes the Permanent Fund. The word “dividend” is not in there.

  5. Morrigan May 18, 2017 at 9:41 am

    “Except for appropriations for Alaska permanent fund dividends,
    appropriations of revenue bond proceeds, appropriations required to pay the principal and interest on general obligation bonds, and appropriations of money received from a non-State source in trust for a specific purpose, including revenues of a public enterprise or public corporation of the State that issues revenue bonds, appropriations from the treasury made for a fiscal year shall not exceed $2,500,000,000 by more than the cumulative change, derived from federal indices as prescribed by law, in population and inflation since July 1, 1981.”

    Article IX, Section 16

    • Observer May 18, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Well, I suppose that means that the idea of a dividend has made it into the Constitution, but since it is mentioned only in calculating the spending limit, the form of a dividend is up to the Legislature. All earnings of the Permanent Fund are subject to appropriation by the Legislature. I see no Constitutional requirement for a dividend.

      The dividend will be meaningless for Alaskans that work for a living if we end up with an income tax. Personally, I don’t like socialism or any program of wealth redistribution.


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