In this political climate there are 2 question which should be asked just to know
where your representative stands. These two questions are specific positions on the Permanent Fund Dividend.
These are essential questions because a vast majority of Alaskans support protection of the PFD in the State Constitution.
The reason why many representatives are reluctant to answer these questions, they have other ideas how the money of the PFD could be better spent on other forms of government programs.
The 2 questions:
1. Do you support protection of the PFD payout in the State Constitution?
2. If you support question #1, what percentage payout would you advocate?
Currently there are various bills in the legislature which would address these questions.
The first bill is SJR1 and HJR34 which would restore the historic payout of the PFD within the Constitution. SJR1 is being held up on the senate side by Senator Coghill. He refuses to allow the resolution to move out of the Judiciary Committee
which he heads. He is in adamant opposition to Constitutional protection of the PFD. HJR 34 is sponsored by a minority caucus member, David Eastman and politics being what they are, the House Majority will not move this resolution for him.
The second most prominent bill HJR 23 which promotes protection of the PFD through the mechanism of a POMV has been hijacked by the Co-Chair of House Finance committee, Paul Seaton.
This resolution was sponsored by House Majority leader Chris Tuck. He submitted HJR 23 to House Finance committee for consideration. The resolution protected the PFD in the Constitution but the original language was a 33/67 split of a 4.75%
POMV draw. This would have made the PFD protected in the State Constitution but would pay out approximately $1250.00. The bulk of the 4.75% draw would go to support and promote government services. Other than this language, it was a clean POMV.
HJR 23 was taken up in House Finance and public testimony was scheduled for the evening of Monday, March 12th. Just prior to public testimony on Saturday, March 10th, Co-Chair Paul Seaton personally amended the bill to include:
1. A separate, additional ad-hoc draw above the 4.75% to be determined by 3/4th of the legislature which would make available all of the Earnings Reserve ( $16 billion) for anything which could be deemed the "public good."
2. Language of "Shall be paid" to the government draw and
"may be paid" to the citizens PFD.
These amendments just prior to public comment severely altered HJR 23. One must ask if Co-Chair Paul Seaton acted on purpose to effectively manipulate public comments and effectively kill this legislation.
Immediately after amending this legislation, the prime sponsor, Majority Leader Chris Tuck, removed his name from the legislation as it was severely altered. All the co-sponsors followed suit until the bill was designated a stand alone bill from the House Finance.
Co-Chair Paul Seaton began the process of soliciting and receiving amendments to HJR 23. When he determined the amendments would remove his language and focus on the possibility of a 50/50 payout, he used his title and power and pulled the bill from the schedule of the Finance committee.
So, in the end, the citizens of Alaska do not have effective representation to ask these two questions because of only two representatives and their need to control the government grab of your PFD. These two representatives are:
It is essential that citizens of Alaska contact these 2 representatives and demand that they move SJR1 and HJR 23
out of committee and onto the floor so Alaskans can determine exactly who is supporting Constitutional protection of the PFD and at what percentage payout.
Following are the current positions of representatives who have responded regarding the Constitutional protection and percentage. This is not a partisan issue and never should be. This is about the citizens of Alaska and their representation.
Legislator Protection Split
George Rauscher Yes 50/50
David Eastman Yes 50/50
Gabrielle LeDoux Yes 50/50
Mark Neuman Yes 50/50
Scott Kawasaki Yes 50/50
Steve Thompson ? 25/75
Chris Birch No
Kevin Meyer No negotiate
Daniel Ortiz Yes negotiate
Paul Seaton Yes 33/67
More will be posted as they submit their positions. These questions were submitted to all House and Senate members. Stay tuned.
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