From the beginning of the Fund in 1976, business and government leaders have circled like sharks around the Peoples’ treasure and worked to raid it.
2017: Why is there a raid now? The State has spent billions from savings to cover deficits of the past several years. The flow of oil money has slowed way down and State income is around $1.4 billion. This year in 2017 the Legislature passed an operating budget of almost $9 billion. It’s a big challenge to cut the budget and raise revenue, so our government wants to spend the easy money of the PFD and Fund instead of other options. Don’t make it easy for them to steal it!
Currently, the Governor has vetoed almost $670 million from PFD checks that is sitting in the earnings reserve. The Legislature cut about the same amount from the PFD in 2017 that is also in reserves now. Leaders are ignoring the law with direction that PFD money “shall transfer” to dividends according to the PFD statute formula.
RAID June, 2017: The Legislature voted to cut the PFD this year by over half to $1200. This cut amounts to a regressive tax levied without public consent. http://www.ktoo.org/2017/07/05/pfd-cut-affects-alaskans-others/
RAID October, 2017: Supreme Court decision approved the Governor’s veto cutting PFDs in half. This action overrides the law and makes the dividend available for appropriation for government. This is the end of the PFD as Alaskans have known it since 1982, their rightful share of resource wealth. The only way to protect the PFD now is in the Alaska Constitution by a vote for an amendment. In the 2018 Session Alaskans will campaign for a vote on this amendment that must be put on the ballot in 2018 by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature.
The Governor proposed a Permanent Fund Protection Act that involves capping the PFD and restructuring the Fund to spend earnings for government. Instead of protecting the Fund and PFD this plan can erode both. This restructure plan can damage the Permanent Fund system that has defended the Fund for decades against government spending through the public receiving the PFD share of oil wealth according to the current law. The public guards the Permanent Fund through their PFD stake. “Keep the dividend part of the Alaska Permanent Fund to protect both”
In 2016, over $5 million for ads and lobbying was spent by government, Alaska’s Future business group with GCI, and the Rasmuson Foundation to gain access to the People’s money for government spending. See Alaska’s Future details at www.akfuture.org . They are now circling back around in the 2017 with the same plan to restructure the Fund and cut the PFD without voter approval.
Stop this Raid, Alaskans!
There are $60 billion reasons for this battle for control of the Peoples’ Fund. http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Alaska-Permanent-Fund-total-value-exceeds-60-billion-435734013.html
In the past, all Alaska’s Governors have promised to hold a public vote for Fund changes. Governor Walker is the first to break that promise. Alaska Governors Bill Sheffield, Steve Cowper, Wally Hickel, Tony Knowles and Frank Murkowski all proposed cutting dividends. If these plans had succeeded the Fund would not have grown as it has and the economy would have slowed due to PFD cuts.
In 1999, Gov. Knowles pledged he would hold an advisory vote on a budget plan that tapped the Fund earnings to pay for government. He said that since Alaskans approved the Permanent Fund by a public vote, Alaskans have a right to vote on changes to the Fund. In 2016, Gov. Knowles abandoned this good reasoning and now leads the Alaska’s Future group trying to raid the Fund without a public advisory vote.
See Gov. Knowles letter from 1999 at the Save Your PFD site: http://www.web-ak.com/pfd/knowles.html
Much of the deceptive advertising used in 1999 has been repeated again in 2016. Here’s former Senator Rck Halford’s 2016 article explaining the raids he witnessed as an AK State Senator: https://www.adn.com/voices/commentary/2016/06/15/house-should-vote-no-to-protect-permanent-fund-and-dividend/
See the Governors debating the PFD Cap in this video: Gov Hammond says “No PFD Cap!”