Bipartisan group of legislators calls for statutory PFD to be paid in full

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A bipartisan group of legislators have sent a letter to Governor Michael J. Dunleavy reiterating their continued support of a full, statutory Permanent Fund Dividend. The letter underscores the need for all Alaskans to have a seat at the table regarding any changes to the statute. The letter contains signatures from members of all four legislative caucuses: the Alaska House Majority, the Alaska Senate Majority, the Alaska House Republicans, and the Alaska Senate Democrats.

“The Permanent Fund Dividend is part of what connects all Alaskans, and every Alaskan should have a voice in its future,” said Sen. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage). “I believe we need to hear from the public before any changes to the statute are made. Until the public has an opportunity to weigh in, we need to follow the statute already on the books when it comes to paying out the dividend.”

“The legislature and the public spent years debating what to do with the earnings of the Permanent Fund before creating the Dividend program in 1982. It was meant to give every Alaskan a direct, equal ownership benefit in our oil wealth and provide an automatic spending cap to protect the Fund,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). “It’s one of the most successful and popular programs in Alaskan and American history. Hundreds of thousands of Alaskans rely on the PFD, as do many Alaskan businesses - and they deserve to have the consistency and stability of a statute that lawmakers follow. Under the Constitution, the legislature can change the PFD statute, but until they do, the existing formula should respectfully be followed.”

“Alaskans have spoken clearly that they want a full, statutory Permanent Fund Dividend,” said Rep. Sarah Vance (R-Homer). “We believe that the PFD belongs to Alaskans, and that reverence for the law should not be diminished.”

“We as legislators should not pick and choose which laws we follow,” said Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage). “It is not about the size of the PFD. It is about following the law.”

The full list of signees includes: Senators Mia Costello, Shelley Hughes, Peter Micciche, Lora Reinbold, Mike Shower, Bill Wielechowski, and Representatives Ben Carpenter, Sharon Jackson, Gabrielle LeDoux, Laddie Shaw, Dave Talerico, Chris Tuck, and Sarah Vance.

Click here to read the letter.