ANCHORAGE, May 2, 2018 — Gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy today urged legislative leaders to “shelve” Governor Walker’s bill to restructure the Permanent Fund, SB 26, and oppose any changes to the Permanent Fund Dividend program without first taking the issue to a vote of the people.
“The Permanent Fund belongs to Alaskans, yet we have elected officials who are attempting to make the most profound changes in the entire history of the Permanent Fund without even asking Alaskans,” said Dunleavy. “Instead of trying to cram this proposal through in the waning days of a legislative session, they should shelve SB 26 and leave the Permanent Fund and the dividend program untouched.”
Dunleavy stated that the Permanent Fund program has worked well for nearly 40 years, but that recent actions by the Governor and some in the Legislature have undermined people’s trust in government. “There is a formula in state law for calculating dividends, and regrettably it’s been ignored – first by the Governor, and then the Legislature,” Dunleavy stated. “The full dividend needs to be paid to Alaskans, according to law, just like any other contractual obligation.”
The state’s current budget deficit was not created by the Permanent Fund dividend program, Dunleavy noted. “Our general fund budget is simply bloated, and this problem was not caused by the dividend program. Yet too many politicians prefer to take the ‘easy way out’ of slashing dividends rather than doing the tough work of actually shrinking the size of the bureaucracy. The Permanent Fund Dividend program is actually one component of state government that has worked well over the years. It pays for itself. We should leave it alone. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.”
Dunleavy pledged that he will protect the Permanent Fund and the PFD as Governor. “I fought hard to protect the Permanent Fund and the PFD in the State Senate, and this same strong commitment will guide me as Governor,” said Dunleavy. “This is an issue that transcends party politics. I don’t care if someone is a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, I think they’re wrong to pass bills that slash Alaskans’ dividend checks without first taking it to a vote of the people.”