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    BREAKING: 2021 Permanent Fund Profit is $18.6 billion – it’s time to pay Alaskans

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    The Alaska Permanent Fund just 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 transfers out (payment to the General Fund to pay government expenses and dividends) were $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 billion in the Earnings Reserve account. The Earnings Reserve requires a simple majority approval for the Legislature to spend it.

    But, after legislative shenanigans, our Permanent Fund Dividend for 2021 is zero.
    The Legislature goes into another special session on Aug. 2. Their task, assigned by Governor Dunleavy, 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.

    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.

    There are three choices available to legislators in the August special session.

    1. The House and the Senate majority could again cut your dividend to $525. The Governor appropriately vetoed the previous attempt, 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 of a protected Permanent Fund. Small businesses get that message and succeed when local stores and restaurants serve the dividend recipients. We need more of that to bring our economy back to life.

    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.

    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 legislators who committed to voting for the full dividend, and then did so.
    This is not a partisan battle – there are Republicans and Democrats and Independents on both sides. This is not a rural/urban battle. As incredible as it seems, even with polls showing 80% approval for full dividends, legislators can come up with more imaginative justifications to vote against their constituents’ interests.

    We’re beyond the need to justify the Alaska Permanent Fund or its earnings. For legislators who disagree with our commitment to the dividend, we need to point out that they have an early retirement coming.

    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 dividends from our grandchildren. Legislators beware. My bud, Joe Sixpack, understands this issue perfectly and will vote accordingly.

    Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

    Jim Crawford
    Jim Crawford is a third-generation Alaskan entrepreneur who resides in Anchorage. 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.

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    15 Comments

    1. 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!

    2. Yet they have ways of reducing the payout. This 34 years in Alaska homeowner got stuck Outside after taking a trip to care for a friend in Cancer throes who died. A further series of my own sudden illness, vehicle probs, unplanned financial duress, delayed my anxious return to home. PFD DENIED despite medical records/referrals, additional evidence supporting the circumstances and full narrative, and with help of agency supports for planning the trip and subsequent evidence. DENIED as if I were not a citizen of this State.

    3. I’ll definitely be writing my reps again, year after year they’ve blatantly blown off the formula and paid us peasants a pittance, here we are groveling again for what is rightfully the people’s, some of them even think we are over privileged! Imagine that! The 50/50 sits well with me. Let’s see how greedy they become huh? I’m sure they’ve come up with something rediculous to counter it already.

    4. PFD fund makes 18bil, YET the legislature wants to give you $525 this year as a pay out. You know.. There are starving state employees that could really use that money. Think of their children. (sarcasm off)

    5. Let’s just vote anyone that does not vote to give us the permanent fund we should get out of office. Then we can reset and the people can have the victory and recognize that we the people are better off making decisions than politicians.

      • The problem is, they lie!
        They say they will support a full PFD, then they get in office and thumb their noses at us.

    6. We want our money, quit stealing our permanent fund legislators! How about we vote to give you a salary much like a lot of ours? That should cut back on your spending right? I’ll bet you would love that, I know we would!

    7. I’m so tired of hearing about the abuse of our permanent fund! For me it’s irrelevant as I’m a winter snow bird and haven’t gotten a dividend for several years although I’m still a resident of this great state! I still have a business and multiple properties here! What really upsets me is that our Representatives running this State can’t seem to deal with a responsible budget, just like the federal government! Why should we balance our personal budgets when the State and federal governments cant lead by example! Its not that hard money in and money out!! I’m thinking we need to replace the whole corrupt group ASAP!!!

      • It appears that you have been blessed where todays citizens are less fortunate. So it would be nice to know that current generation has same opportunity , unfortunately it is not the case.

    8. Perhaps if they would refuse to pay legislative official’s (All) not just some they would learn to respect historical laws and provide fair distribution of PFD funds. Sadly I move here 10 years ago as a disabled consumer, received pfd , when allowed, bought a home, tried to work could not get hired because of three reasons, age, disability which prevents me from driving and being a woman. Still we pay exhorbent utility cost (gas and Electric) over $1000 each month
      Almost out of money with no hope in site. We could use some help but none to be found.

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