WHO: Permanent Fund Defenders is a non-partisan, educational non-profit group lead by Alaska leaders with deep roots in Alaska and membership including all Alaskans who want to protect the $62 billion Permanent Fund and PFD for the maximum benefit to all Alaskans. Governor Walter Hickel famously called Alaska the Owner State…and Alaskans are the Owner People. As owners of the Permanent Fund, Alaskans have a right and duty to decide how the Fund is used. Our goal is to inform Alaskans about our history and defend the Permanent Fund and PFD from mismanagement and overspending from government. Many leaders in this group worked on founding the Permanent Fund with Governor Jay Hammond. We are determined to preserve this great legacy for Alaskans today and for future generations.
WHY: The Permanent Fund and PFD are in extreme danger now. Since the creation of the Permanent Fund, government leaders have lobbied to raid it for spending on development projects, government growth, and subsidies to business insiders instead of saving wealth and using it to benefit all Alaska shareholders in the Fund. The State Constitution (Article 8) says that our resources must provide the maximum benefit to all Alaskans. But our government leaders are not upholding this right, they are not allowing the people to vote on Fund and dividend changes. In 2016, special interests spent over $5 million on ads, lobbying, and campaign donations to gain their interests with the Fund. The Governor and many Legislators are joining this raid to dismantle the Permanent Fund, cut the PFD, and secure the Fund as a government spending fund. Alaskans have a right and duty to join together to stop this raid.
WHERE AND WHEN: Alaskans must now join forces statewide to stop this attack on the Permanent Fund and PFD. The battle will go on into the 2018 Session and election, every Alaska needs to get informed, donate, volunteer and vote in the 2018 election to stop the raid on the People’s money and preserve the Permanent Fund system.
WHAT ARE THE KEY QUESTIONS FOR ALASKANS TO ASK AND GET THE TRUTH ABOUT ALASKA’S BUDGET PLAN:
1) Are there other options for a budget plan without capping the PFD and restructuring the Permanent Fund? Yes! Many Alaskans are proposing budget cuts, government reform, using some Permanent fund earnings for government, getting maximum benefit for resources, lease and sale of State assets, taxes and other fixes that Alaskans must decide on for a budget plan instead of grabbing the easy, “low hanging fruit” of dividend money from Alaskans. We need innovative, new business plans.
2) Is the Fund really in danger? Absolutely! If the Fund is restructured so that more can be spent along with stopping inflation proofing, the Fund can erode away. When the PFD is disconnected from the Fund and people aren’t the watchdogs of Fund performance, the Fund is in great danger of government overspending and mismanaging it.
3) The Governor says his plan will protect the PFD. Is that true? No! The Governor’s plan is called the “Permanent Fund Protection Act” but it will endanger not protect it. The Governor vetoed almost $670 million from PFD money, so how secure is the future of the PFD if government can so easily access it? The Governor’s plan disconnects the dividend from the Fund performance and that weakens the People’s connection to the Fund. Then, the government is given direct access to Fund earning to pay for government when Alaskans have not approved what the government is paying for with these Funds. Alaskans must decide what government we want and how to pay for it. A Constitutional amendment guaranteeing the PFD is the only way to provide real protection for the PFD in the long term.
We, the people of Alaska, are the defenders of the Permanent Fund, every voter who gets a PFD is needed in this fight. Only with a great number of Alaskans holding their representatives accountable will we stop leaders from stealing the Peoples’ money. Hopefully the information here will spark Alaskans understanding and appreciation for our exceptional Permanent Fund and dividend, and ignite the shareholders action to defend it. Thank you for joining this fight and doing your part to defend the Peoples’ Fund. This website will inform you on how to help and actions to take through the Session. We must demand a budget plan that benefits the majority of Alaskans. As Governor Jay Hammond strongly warned Alaskans in a previous attack on the Fund, “Hold the legislators feet to the fire or you’ll get burned!”
L-R, Permanent Fund Defenders, Jon Faulkner, Juanita Cassellius (Coord, board member) Jack Hickel (VP, board member) and Dean Kasischke, not pictured is Jim Crawford (Pres, board member) and Roselynn Cacy (Treasurer).