Rep. Ben Carpenter

Rep. Ben Carpenter (R- Nikiski) has introduced two constitutional amendment bills to guarantee that Alaskans are paid a Permanent Fund Dividend in accord with state statute rather than leaving the amount to lawmakers to debate each year.

HJR 7 would return the state to the historic method of determining payments based on statutory formula, a process used for nearly 35 years before Gov. Bill Walker vetoed a portion of the annual payment in 2016.

The Alaska Supreme Court upheld Walker’s decision, claiming that the dividends were subject to the annual appropriations process in the Legislature. Since that time, the statutory PFD payments have been drastically reduced.

“While the legislature could choose to follow the law and appropriate the dividend according to statute and separate it from the budget, they have not done so,” Carpenter explained in a sponsor statement about his bill. “Instead, the permanent fund dividend has been subjected to the budget process, where the dividend competes with government spending and often becomes the deficit reduction solution. “

If passed by the Legislature and approved by Alaskan voters, HJR 7 would require the state to pay the annual dividend in accord with state statute.

In this way, the people will always receive first call on the earnings of the Fund, ahead of government.

Rep. Ben Carpenter

“Neglecting to constitutionalize the PFD would permit lawmakers to continue avoiding their obligation to address the shortcomings of Alaska’s fiscal and economic planning, placing the Permanent Fund at risk,” Carpenter’s statement explained. “Constitutionally enshrining the Permanent Fund Dividend will provide for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans and ensure the prosperity of the Permanent Fund for generations of Alaskans to come.”

A second constitutional amendment introduced by Carpenter, HJR 8, looks to give Alaskans assurance that the PFD will be protected.

This bill would add protection against overspending of the Fund by moving the balance of the Earnings Reserve Account, which currently holds the Permanent Fund’s investment earnings, into the Fund corpus, where all future earnings will be retained and thereby safeguarded from access for government programs.

HJR8 then limits the permissible draw from the Fund to 5% of a five-year averaged market value of the Fund. The people would then be apportioned either 50% of the draw value or the amount of the historic calculation formula — whichever is greater.

“In this way, the people will always receive first call on the earnings of the Fund, ahead of government,” Carpenter’s statement notes. “Failing to constitutionalize the PFD would enable a disproportionate distribution of Alaska’s oil wealth to growing government at the expense of Alaskan citizens.”


The House Ways and Means Committee, which Carpenter chairs, plans to take up multiple PFD solutions in the coming days. The committee will take public testimony this Saturday, March 11, at 9 a.m., on the bills presented this week. To participate in the public hearing contact your local Legislative Information Office here.

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Bills aim to protect Alaska PFDs from state spending, while mandating statutory payouts

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • JD says:

    It’s about time!! It’s abusive to the folks making less money to wonder if they can stock the pantry each year. Remember Alaskans gave up all mineral rights in exchange for PFD. The past several years have been basically a breach of contract.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    I agree with JD, above. It is about time that the people get what’s coming to us and not what the democrats think is good for us. We missed out of the constitutional amendment because of the MURDER(abortion) garbage. Now let’s do the right thing here and pass these two bills. Even though democrats always say they don’t want the money they are always the very first ones to file annually. I can use the extra money for what the Feds take from seniors and military all the time. These two bills have my support unless a better way comes forward. That’s not bills from democrats to muddy the water as they like to do.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Amen clear concise thinking!!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I need to learn more about Ben Carpenter. Have not heard of him until this year.

  • Lobo says:

    I would like to see the law followed.. We need a Constitutional convention, but the voters have bought into the scare tactics lies, and instead of educating themselves, rejected it. It has been the same with the Constitutional Convention of The States.. That seems to be slowly gaining ground, but should have been convened many years ago… I kinda doubt that the politicians will support any measures to protect the PFD, but we will see.. Bill Walker was the one who struck the match, and the Alaska Supreme Court fueled the flames by refusing to honor the law. We need to clean house there as well.

  • Edward D Martin Jr says:

    First the current POMV law is totally unconstitutional ! Why well any formula that is in anyway attached to the corpus of the Permanent Fund is unlawful without a vote of the people ” Constitutionally ” to change the wording on the Permanent Fund itself ! Ben’s second Constitutional has some merit in the fact that it does both things, although it’s totally different in that ” the “original statute ” had the 5 year average pay out of the earnings only ” ! He is attempting to use POMV concept in a effort to legitimatize it by adding ” whichever is greater ” language! Crafty Ben! It seems a compromise effort , good job it might fly!!!

  • Mary says:

    Yea! Ben Carpenter.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Impeachment Mike Dunleavy