Currently there is a great divide, politically, within the state. We have the group that wants a big dividend and those who want services. When I grew up I was always taught there is no free ride; you had to work for what you wanted. I was also taught that something that you receive for free has no value.
All the money that we receive for free, the Permanent Fund dividend, and services, Medicaid and school, etc., have little or no value to many.
I have a solution: Pay the $3,000 dividend to everyone, but if you use state-provided services, you pay a portion of your dividend. As an example, we have about 200,000 people on Medicaid; if the state withheld $1,000 from their PFDs, the state would recover $200 million. If every school-aged child had $500 withheld from their PFD, the state might recover another $100 million. If every adult that has had a child attend an Alaska-supported school had $500 deducted, potentially another $150 million could be recovered. Every college student attending an Alaska university could have $1,000 deducted. Every senior citizen living in a Pioneer Home they have $1,000 deducted. The examples could go on and on.
People need to be responsible for themselves and pay their way. The above can be accomplished very easily by adding a few questions on the PFD application — i.e., “Do you rely on Medicaid or do you have health insurance?” “Do you attend public school grades K-12?” “Have you had a child who attended public school in Alaska?” “Are you attending an Alaska university?” If you are not and have not used Alaska identified services, you get your full $3,000 PFD. If you have used or are using Alaska identified services you get less, but know you have helped pay you way.
— Jim Miller
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