As the Legislature reconvenes at the call of Gov. Bill Walker, Alaskans must beware. Your Permanent Fund is under attack by those who would spend your money on more government rather than manage the budget and maintain your dividend. Alaska Statute is explicit: Pay dividends for 50 percent of the average five-year earnings period. Govs. Jay Hammond and Wally Hickel supported the dividend, fought for it. The dividend connects Alaskans to the fund and protects it.
To begin the process of gutting the fund, Walker vetoed half the dividend last year and allowed legislators this year to set the dividend at $1,100. Statutorily, it should be $2,300. The dividend cuts are an egregious and regressive tax on each Alaskan. They harm the retail sector in recession and hurt people who need them most. This abrogation of elected officials to follow the law can be stopped through a constitutional amendment. In 1976, Alaskans voted constitutional protection of the principle of the Fund. Let’s finish the job and protect our dividend.
This Legislature can pass constitutional protection. Then the people can vote. An amendment must pass the Legislature by two-thirds or by Constitutional Convention. Walker opposes constitutional protection of your dividend. He has capitulated to big spenders who will never be satisfied until they get the Fund.