It’s in the name: Permanent Fund. Permanent means not just today but all the days and generations yet to come. What I saw in today’s paper puts that notion at extreme risk. The earnings reserve is a vital part of the fund and is used to set the value of the dividend. To hear our governor-elect say it, he believes that he can fund both day-to-day expenses as well as dividends with the earnings reserve.
This will soon burn through a third of the fund, and we will have no dividend and no solution to our fiscal gap. Kiss our Permanent Fund goodbye. Jay Hammond never intended the fund to pay for day-to-day expenses. He told all who would listen that he wanted to get the earnings of the fund into the hands of the people and then let government, i.e. the Legislature, claw back what the people would allow government to spend.
Don’t allow the earnings reserve to become the personal slush fund of the governor and the Legislature for the next four years. It will meet the same fate as the $16 billion that was in the Constitutional Budget Reserve four years ago. The only way to truly protect the fund is to deposit the majority of the earnings reserve into the principal of the fund and change the Constitution to allow no more than a 4 percent draw yearly on the fund. What would Jay do?
— Harry T Crawford Jr.
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