On Hunting and Fishing
On Economic Development
Responsible Resource Development
Government Must Stop Competing with the Private Sector
On Managing the Budget
On the PFD
I have received several questions about this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend, the proposed legislation by Senator Mike Dunleavy to restore the full amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend this year, and Governor Bill Walker’s veto of half the PFD amount.
I favor and fully support Sen. Dunleavy’s legislation that will restore the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) amount to $2,052, as originally calculated by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.
While Governor Walker may have had his reasons for what he did, the people of Alaska have lost faith in government. Restoring the full amount of the permanent fund dividend will help restore the trust of the people.
Alaska residents have received a dividend from Alaska’s Permanent Fund since 1982, when the first check was cut for $1,000. Research shows that the Permanent Fund Dividend was designed so the people of Alaska would have ownership in the way their government was funded in the future.
Former Governor Jay Hammond introduced a state constitutional amendment in 1976 calling for an investment of the money raised by mineral lease rentals, royalties, etc., into a permanent fund. In November 1976 the Alaskan voters passed the amendment by a vote of 75,588 to 38,518.
Hammond wrote in a Feb. 14, 1980, memo to House Speaker Hugh Malone, “Benefits from oil wealth which belong to all Alaskans can be distributed in many ways… This is why I have proposed a Permanent Fund dividend program." Hammond went on to state that the dividend program would allow all Alaskans to share in their resource wealth, and it would have an equitable impact on both rich and poor.
The legislature went one step further when it developed the formula for determining the amount of the Permanent Fund Dividend, providing the citizens a level of confidence and understanding about how their share of Alaska's oil wealth would be distributed.
Alaska residents recently received a check for half the amount calculated under state law and approved by the Legislature.
We are facing this issue today because of Governor Walker’s veto of half the funds necessary to pay out the amount of the people’s money according to this formula that exists in state statute. While the legality of his actions is being decided in the courts, it remains unclear what the decision will be.
Of greater importance, if the governor is allowed to take away half of this year’s PFD, what will stop the governor from taking 100 percent of the PFD next year and into the future.
It is for these reasons that I support and will co-sponsor a companion bill in the House like the legislation being proposed by Senator Dunleavy. It will place an extra $1030 into the pockets of each Alaskan who received a PFD this year, fulfilling the intent of the PFD creators and complying with state law.
STILL ROCK SOLID
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