In a letter to state legislators this week, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce came out against the full Permanent Fund dividend that Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants to pay out to Alaskans, saying the group “does not see logic in increasing the spending on the PFD while significantly cutting the overall budget.”
Legislators and the Dunleavy administration should “find middle ground with a fiscal plan that utilizes PFD earnings and reduced spending," said the letter, which was signed by chamber president Bruce Bustamante and board chairman Tim Thompson.
The chamber — which represents more than 900 member businesses — sent the letter to legislators late Monday, Bustamante said in an email.
The group “believes the best path forward is to combine reductions with new revenue, and as such opposes increasing the Permanent Fund dividend to a full pay out of $3,000,” it said. “The Anchorage Chamber supports the payment of a PFD that reflects the payment averages paid out in the last five years as Alaska has struggled to balance its budget."
The letter comes as organizations across the state are deciding where they stand on Dunleavy’s $444 million of vetoes from Alaska’s operating budget, with many pushing back against those cuts. The governor has said he wants the state to pay out a full dividend without raising taxes or spending from savings.
Legislators are set to meet Wednesday to consider overriding Dunleavy’s vetoes. House lawmakers have proposed a $1,600 PFD for this year.
The governor’s vetoes would lead to job losses and pull Alaska back into a recession, according to an economic analysis released this week from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
In its letter, the Anchorage Chamber urged legislators and the Dunleavy administration "to use a portion of PFD earnings to find a common path for a stronger economy that is the foundation of Alaska’s future.”