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It is an election year and the mini-stampede to protect at all costs the Permanent Fund dividend — Alaska’s expensive homage to lousy public policy — by enshrining it in the Alaska Constitution continues unabated.
This time around, the charge is led by Sens. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, and Tom Begich, D-Anchorage. They have pre-filed Senate Joint Resolutions 9 and 10 that would, among other things and with voters’ approval, constitutionally guarantee a dividend. Last year, Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck and Republicrat Gabrielle LeDoux were the notion’s frontfolk.
In short, Stedman’s offering would appropriate at least 2 percent of the average market value of the fund’s balance, based on a five-year average, for dividends, leaving an additional 2.5 percent for appropriation to the fund itself or to the general fund. Begich’s proposal would take 5 percent of the fund’s market value over a five-year average and use 40 percent of that for dividends.