With the fist Special Session of the Alaska Legislature set to end in a little over a week, Gov. Mike Dunleavy is pressing lawmakers to act on his proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 6, which aims to protect the Alaska Permanent Fund and future payouts to Alaskans of Permanent Fund Dividends.
Dunleavy’s proposal would ensure that profits from the fund are equally shared between Alaska residents and the state government, with the aim of easing the budget deficit that annually plagues the state.
The governor’s proposal also looks to protect the $1 billion power cost equalization endowment, which lowers electricity prices in Alaska communities, by depositing this money into the Permanent Fund’s corpus.
“I am ready and willing to continue the conversation with legislators to come to a solution regarding the Permanent Fund,” Dunleavy stated June 10. “My proposed plan, SJR 6, provides consistency and security to Alaskans, to the State, and to the Permanent Fund itself.”
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He noted that the 50/50 split of Permanent Fund earnings would balance the budget within five years without any “broad-based taxes.”
The idea that the Permanent Fund belongs to the government and the PFD ‘costs’ the state money is revisionist history and utterly unsupported by 34 years of statutory PFDs – this is Alaskans’ resource wealth,” Dunleavy maintained. “Any proposal that treats the Permanent Fund as the Legislature’s personal piggy bank will not work.”
In order to pass the Legislature, the governor’s plan needs 27 House and 14 Senate votes. If successful it would go before Alaskans for a final vote.
“The point of no return is fast approaching,” he said in a June 9 video. “If we’re gong to save the PFD, we must do it this year.”
Under Dunleavy’s plan the PFD would pay out $2,350 to each Alaskan this year, the largest in history. Last year the PFD was $992.
Dunleavy originally campaigned with the promise to restore the traditional statutory payment of the PFD, which was halted in 2016 under former Gov. Bill Walker. Dunleavy’s efforts, however, have gained zero traction in the State Legislature. His current proposal is a compromise to try and salvage the PFD for future generations.
The governor’s proposal is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on June 11 at 1:30 p.m.
- Click here to contact members of the Senate Finance Committeee.
- Click here to watch the June 11 hearing that begins at 1:30 p.m.