Alaskans should contact legislators if they want to save dividends

Posted: Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Would you be surprised to find out that the first resolution introduced by the 23rd Legislature was to take your permanent fund dividend away? Kiss your permanent fund dividend goodbye if Rep. Rokeberg gets has his way with House Joint Resolution 1.

This resolution is the cornerstone of Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski's "endowment plan" dressed in sheep's clothing. The "endowment" is really nothing more than another guaranteed funding source so for career politicians like Rep. Rokeberg and Gov. Murkowski can continue spending our money like drunken sailors.

HJR 1 gives will give the Legislature up to 6 percent of the permanent fund's 5-year average value to continue supporting our an excessively large and expensive government. The current system and the proposed Hammond Initiative, both protect the fund principal by using earnings to inflation proof the fund before paying a dividend.

Under HJR 1 the Legislature would make withdrawals from the permanent fund principal whether it has earnings or not. HJR 1 eliminates guaranteed inflation proofing of the fund and eliminates your permanent fund dividend.

Consider instead House Joint Resolution 3, which if approved by the Legislature, will be placed on the ballot for a vote of the people. If approved by voters, it will amend the Constitution to make the dividend off limits to the legislature without a 60 percent vote of the people. HJR 3 will use the same formula currently in place to inflation proof the fund and pay dividends.

A Web page has been established to monitor HJR 3. See for complete details. HJR 3 is good legislation that will finally settle the dispute over who should spend your permanent fund dividend!

Have you contacted your legislators yet? Don't wait until it's too late! There is no provision for inflation proofing the principal unless earnings exceed the legislative withdrawals, and definitely no mention of dividends being paid to the citizens of Alaska.

If the fund has negative earnings, which can easily happen in a recession, then those legislative withdrawals would be from the principal. If the economy stays soft long enough the Legislature could easily sack the entire fund within our lifetime!

Have you contacted your legislator yet? What are you waiting for? Your silence is justification enough for many politicians to continue to fuel the most outrageous and expensive party in Alaska with your permanent fund dividend checks.

Are you surprised that the first bill introduced by the 23rd Legislature was to take your permanent fund dividend? Did you know that our state government currently spends $13,000 for every man, woman and child and still insists on taking more? Have you contacted your legislator yet?

Mike McBride

Board president

Alaska Voters Organization


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