Again this year, we are in debate about the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend. Ever since Gov. Bill Walker and the Alaska Supreme Court did away with the 1982 formula for the dividend, a battle has raged over its amount. When the dividend was established, I (and I believe most Alaskans at the time) believed it would require a vote of the citizenry to alter. Not only has the citizenry been robbed of our entitlement, we have also had to devote state funds to our representatives for special sessions to do so. In addition, Alaska has invested in numerous projects that have had questionable benefits.
When Alaska operated under the original 1982 formula, our dividend was cut and dried. It’s clear our representatives like parents know what is best to do with the citizens money.
It’s time for the citizens of Alaska to demand that our representatives either go back to the original formula, come up with a couple of alternative formulas and let the citizens vote and make one the law of the land, or cash the fund out (which actually defeats its whole purpose).
— Randy Van Sickle
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