The debate over the state’s budget and the size of the Permanent Fund dividend has grown wearisome for many of us. The budget the governor put forth drastically cut the budget of many state agencies. The justification for these cuts, as far as I can tell, is based on national averages.
The justification goes like this: The national average cost per student in the K-12 system is X, whereas, Alaska’s cost is 2 times X so we need to cut it. The national average cost for state police is Y and Alaska’s cost is W so we need to cut it. Other states don’t have a state-funded marine highway system so Alaska shouldn’t either. And, on and on and on.
OK, so let’s run with that line of reasoning. What is the national average for state-distributed PFDs? If you exclude Alaska, it is exactly zero dollars. For those who think Alaska’s budget should be based on national averages, then we should get nothing in the way of a PFD. Or, is that not what the governor and his gang really meant?
— Rick Girouard
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