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

    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)
    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.

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    8 Comments

    1. What the snakes in Juneau are doing is manipulating the masses into thinking they have a say so when in reality the calculation is fixed (SB76) and the stimulus money that was intended for the budget during shut downs was conveniently tucked away for Dunleaveys power grab and payback on campaign contributions (Francis and Penny) is my guess maybe that’s why the one who knows where the money is left the state. And anyone who doesn’t fall into line with his agenda gets nothing. The PFD is gone thanks to his subverting the state Constitution and the corruption in the legislative branch and the Justice department.

    2. Another Swamp turd, vote him out at the next opportunity!
      We will probably get another rhino polished turd to replace him..

    3. Not voting for standing tall dude again.
      I keep saying, what don’t they get.
      It’s the LAW give us our full PFD. I’ve been in Alaska a very long time before the first PFD
      We Alaskans worked hard all these years contributing to Alaska. Now they just say go blank yourself. Again it’s the LAW so Wrong.

    4. News Flash – 2021 Permanent Fund Profit at $18.6 Billion
      Jim Crawford
      July 27, 2021

      The Alaska Permanent Fund posted today the June 30, 2021 year-end earnings and expenses. Our PF Trust generated total revenues in the last twelve months of $18.8 billion. Expenses were $174 million leaving a profit of $18.6 billion. Transfers in: (royalty payments) amounted to $319.5 million and out: (payment to the General Fund to pay government expenses and dividends) was $3.141 billion.
      Our Fund balance grew from $65.9 billion last year to $81.1 this year – an increase of $14.6 billion in one year. As of year-end, we have $60.1 billion in principle and $21.0 billion in the Earnings Reserve account. The Earnings Reserve requires a simple majority approval for the Legislature to spend it.
      So, after Legislative shenanigans, our Permanent Fund Dividend for 2022 is zero.
      The Legislature goes into another special session on August 2, 2021. Their task, assigned by Governor Dunleavy in his call, is to balance the budget and solve the fiscal gap. Let me be perfectly clear. The State of Alaska, according to its financial statements has and has had, a surplus over the last several years. When Legislators decry the budget gap, they are referring to the General Fund only and ignoring the billions in earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.
      There are three choices available to Legislators in the August special session.
      1. The House and the Senate majority cut your dividend to $525. They may do it again. The Governor appropriately vetoed the bill as it was designed to punish Alaskans for our greed and entitlement in demanding a full dividend. Each Legislator who chose to cut your dividend, must be held to account by the people. Just record their vote and vote them out of office.
      2. The House minority and Senate minority have backed the full dividend as an investment in Alaskans who can decide for themselves how to spend their money. Any Alaskan who has read any of my 16 columns over the last few years knows that we don’t have a cash problem. We have a spending problem and the way to remove the spending problem is to remove the spenders. To say we don’t have the money is preposterous.
      3. Governor Dunleavy has proposed a realistic, practical compromise. Constitutional protection of the dividend at the 50/50 rate along with inflation protection and passage of a workable spending limit provides a foundation for a sustainable fiscal solution. If this Legislature can’t provide it, let’s vote for the Constitutional Convention on November 8, 2022, and do it ourselves.
      A special note to the private sector. The reality is that if the Permanent Fund had not earned enough income this year, the Legislature would have raised taxes to keep spending. 70% percent of government expenses were paid by permanent fund earnings during the last fiscal year. Solving the fiscal gap must include fiscal protection for private enterprise, small business and all for profit companies.
      This is a battle between the public sector who will never have enough and the private sector which has to earn enough to pay taxes, working Alaskans and their costs of business. Perhaps the outsized earnings of the Fund this year will demonstrate to business the benefits from a protected Permanent Fund. Small business got that message and succeeds when local stores and restaurants serve the dividend recipients. We need more of that to bring our economy back to life.
      Here are three steps each of us can take to solve the fiscal gap:
      1. Plug into https://akleg.gov/docs/pdf/Legislators-by-District.pdf and write down the name of your District Representative and Senator.
      2. Write or call your Representative and Senator to ask the question, “Will you vote for a full dividend at 50/50?” Get a yes or no and write it down.
      3. Track your Representative and Senator’s vote. Did he or she vote for or against your family’s dividend? Vote for the Representative and Senator who committed to you to vote for the full dividend and did so.
      This is not a partisan battle as they are Republicans and Democrats and Independents on both sides.
      This is not a rural/urban battle. As incredible as it seems, even with poll results with 80% approval for full dividends, Legislators can come up with more imaginative reasons why to vote against their constituents’ interests.
      We’re beyond the need to justify the Alaska Permanent Fund or its earnings. We need to point out to Legislators who disagree with our dividend commitment, their early retirement. When I worked for U. S. Senator Ted Stevens, he taught me many things. One dictate was “learn to count” because without that ability, the other side wins in Legislative battles.
      Our collective responsibility is to count a majority of specific commitments from Legislators to enact our right sized dividend. We have the earnings to do that now. We have the organization, will power and resolve to deliver on those commitments. Let’s shock those who steal the dividends from our grandchildren. Legislators beware. My bud, Joe Sixpack, understands this issue perfectly and will vote accordingly.
      Jim Crawford is a third-generation Alaskan entrepreneur who resides in Anchorage with his bride of 38 years, Terri. The Alaska Institute for Growth is a local think tank which studies and reports on and may sponsor projects of sustained economic growth for the Alaskan economy. Mr. Crawford known as the Permanent Fund Defender was a member of the Investment Advisory Committee, appointed by Governor Hammond to plan and execute the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

    5. Sorry Jim, I can’t agree that this lame Governor has any right to sell out the OLD Statutory Formula & Abandonment of it for a Legislature that fails to balance any budget in the past 6 years … NO to Big Mikes POMV 50/50 deal! That’s no compromise on any front ! STOP THE STEAL!

    6. What has happened to the integrity of our elected officials? They get up on their stump, make statements the good people of Alaska like to hear, get elected, and then get sucked into the political cesspool called the Juneau state capitol. Is it something in the water, or a geographical problem? It amazes me how often it is repeated! And where is the Election integrity? Are we so naive to believe we are immune to this form of corruption? STOP THE STEAL!

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