One of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recently proposed constitutional amendments was to permanently mandate the annual dividend distributions and give it immunity to legislative or governor reductions. Although I support this proposal, I also believe in a balanced budget, and this proposal would cause a billion-dollar deficit.
I believe we should also constitutionally protect the entire Alaska Permanent Fund, which totals more than $60 billion, from legislative looting or “borrowing.” That is our nest egg to protect! Once protected, we could use its annual surplus to help our state in perpetuity. Ingeniously set up by its founders, this surplus in 2019 is estimated to be more than $2 billion. If instituted, $1 billion would go to fund the PFD, which would total around $1,600 per person. The other billion dollars would have two options. In times of economic need, it would go into the general fund to provide for the services all Alaskans use. Then, in times of economic prosperity, the Legislature could distribute it into the pockets of Alaskans with a larger PFD.
This amendment would both close the budget gap without cutting important services Alaskans rely on, while ensuring every Alaskan receives a generous PFD. Alaska needs a steady, balanced annual budget. Now’s the time to make it happen.
— Tor Benson
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