By AlaskaWatchman.com

Alaskans have multiple opportunities, both through official channels and grassroots rallies, to offer opinions on how Alaska should move forward with regard to the Permanent Fund Dividend and future state budgets.

On the official front, four upcoming public hearings will help inform a group of eight legislators who are laying the groundwork and agenda for the Aug. 2 special session of the Alaska Legislature. Legislators in this working group include the following:  Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, Sen. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, Rep. Calvin Schrage, I-Anchorage, Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski and Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Mat-Su.

The Aug. 2  special session will be the third of the year for the Legislature. The focus will be on addressing the state’s long term financial outlook, including how to solve structural budget deficits, options to protect the Permanent Fund and annual dividend payments, and potential new revenues and spending reductions.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has asked lawmaker to prioritize protecting the Permanent Fund, the Permanent Fund Dividend, and Power Cost Equalization in the Alaska Constitution through his constitutional amendments, SJR 6 and HJR 7.

Many other Alaskans are demanding that the Legislature follow Alaska law and fund a full statutory dividend in 2021 and beyond.

Those who wish to provide input before the special session agenda is finalized can do so during four public hearings. Testimony will be heard at the following places and times:

  • ANCHORAGE – July 29, 6-9 p.m., at Anchorage Legislative Information Office (1500 W Benson Boulevard, Anchorage, AK 99503). Livestream on AKL.tv.
  • WASILLA – July 30, 6-9 p.m., at Mat-Su Legislative Information Office (600 Railroad Avenue #1, Wasilla, AK 99654). Audio only on AKL.tv.
  • FAIRBANKS – July 31, 1-4 p.m., at Fairbanks Legislative Information Office (1292 Sadler Way #308, Fairbanks, AK 99701). Audio only on AKL.tv.
  • JUNEAU – Aug. 2, 6-9 p.m., in Alaska State Capitol Senate Finance Committee (Room 532). Streamed live on AKL.tv.

Those unavailable to testify in person can participate during the Juneau hearing on Monday, Aug. 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. During that hearing, Juneau residents can call 907-586-9085, Anchorage residents can call 907-563-9085, and other Alaskans can call 844-586-9085 anywhere else.

Comments can also be emailed to fiscal.policy@akleg.gov.

For more information call your regional Legislative Information Office.

In addition to the upcoming public hearings, several communities across Alaska are holding public rallies urging lawmakers to protect the Permanent Fund Dividend. These gatherings are set for the following locations.

  • Fairbanks rally: Aug. 1, 2 p.m. at Sadler Way
  • Anchorage rally: Aug. 1, 2-4 p.m. at Old Sears Mall in Midtown (corner of Northern Lights & New Seward)
  • Wasilla rally: July 31, 1 p.m. at Newcomb Park/Wasilla Lake (corner of Parks and Crusey)

Alaskans have options this week to weigh in on PFD, state budgets

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.