Full Statutory PFD
Let’s not mince words, I support paying the full Permanent Fund Dividend as calculated in Alaska law, including ALL the backpay (stolen PFD’s) owed to Alaskans, plus interest!
While serving in the legislature, I have voted and fought for this at every opportunity including sponsoring budget amendments to pay back dividends. My number one spending priority is paying Alaskan’s full statutory dividend and I’ve voted against every budget bill that didn’t.
I have three reasons for this position:
#1. Follow the Law! Alaska’s Constitution requires the Governor to “faithfully execute the laws”. The PFD calculation in Alaska’s statutes hasn’t changed, the legislature and Governor just ignore it. The lawlessness of state government is out of control. Many politicians obfuscate, arguing about the size of the PFD, and purposely distract voters with unconnected claims about, “what we can afford”. The real issue is about the rule of law, not the size of the dividend.
#2. It’s YOUR Money! There is a deep philosophical divide at the center of the PFD debate. Is the state sovereign or are the people of Alaska? Does state government own Alaska’s resource wealth or is it owned by Alaskans? I stand squarely on the side of the people, not the government. Some try to argue the PFD is a welfare check but ignore the fact we Alaskans gave up our individual subsurface property rights. This idea mistakenly assumes government ownership of our natural resources. The truth is, if state leaders followed the law and paid the full statutory PFD then many Alaskans would have less need for public assistance.
The elitists in government think they will spend your money more responsibly than you and are therefore entitled to it. When COVID hit and the state locked down private businesses, instead of course correcting and giving hurting Alaskans their PFD, the politicians in Juneau doubled-down on spending, because for them .Now Alaska’s political elite are taking twice as much of your dividend as Gov. Walker did!
As run-away inflation ravages consumer purchasing power, and global price-spike in fuel, state oil revenues have jumped. Alaskan households and small businesses silently suffer in the shadows of the government’s special-interest spending. There has been no greater time in which Alaskans have so desperately needed their dividend.
#3. Sovereign Wealth Funds are Dangerous! Having the government fund itself with large investments it owns sounds like a great idea, right? Wrong. It’s actually a very dangerous idea. When the people do not pay for government, there is little incentive for government to remain accountable to the people. Late Gov. Jay Hammond (“father of the Permanent Fund”) warned us about this and we should have listened. Government is like a monster that never has enough - it always wants more. Just look at Norway; its government is supported through a sovereign wealth fund, and their government has grown so much it now has a 70% tax rate on the people! Is this the kind of system we really want for Alaska?
Special interests in Alaska are aggressively lobbying to turn the Permanent Fund into a sovereign wealth fund. This is one reason why over the past few years, big government legislative leadership has been carefully funding its reduced so-called “PFD payments,” from sources outside the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve account, and funding state government from the Permanent Fund. Now that spiking oil prices have once again made state government flush with cash, they are proposing a “resource dividend” instead of following the law and paying the dividend.
You see, big government politicians know once oil prices go back to normal Alaskans can never afford to pay the kind tax they’ll need to fund the bloated government that special interests want. As your Governor I will not allow this to happen on my watch!