As Gov. Jay Hammond said, “of one thing I’m sure … as go dividends, so goes the Permanent Fund. Cap, reduce, or eliminate the PFD and the fund will follow suit.”
That is why I support a constitutional amendment to permanently protect the Permanent Fund and maintain a sustainable dividend. If done properly, this approach will not only ensure that Alaskans continue to share in the wealth of our state’s resources by receiving a PFD as they have been promised, but will also put us on track for a more stable fiscal future.
The Permanent Fund contains two major accounts: the corpus and the earnings reserve. The Alaska Constitution prevents the corpus from being used without a vote of the people. The earnings reserve, however, only requires a simple majority vote in the Legislature. I would immediately move $14 billion from the earnings reserve into the corpus to ensure that it wasn’t subject to the whims of elected officials – today or in the future.
The heart of my plan, which I have called the “Invest in Alaska Plan,” involves using the percentage of market value (POMV) formula and includes:
- Constitutionally protecting the PFD
- Inflation-proofing the Permanent Fund
- Using 50% of POMV formula for a sustainable dividend for Alaskans
- Dedicating remaining funds for pre-K-12 education
Using this common-sense approach would:
- Guarantee Alaskans a PFD that today would be estimated between $1,600 and $1,800 a year
- Free up general funds previously used for education – this year that number could have been as much as $1.6 billion
- Protect education funding from being on the political chopping block year after year
This plan would be passed by the Legislature and voted on the by the people because it is a constitutional amendment.
I believe my plan is the only plan that guarantees a sustainable PFD while also protecting the fund and its future from politicians down the line. Other candidates running for Governor have put forward very different approaches on this issue and I believe that they will all end with the same result: the end of the Permanent Fund.
We cannot promise unrealistic dividends without regard for the future, and families shouldn’t be left wondering each and every year if the latest round of politicians will take their PFDs. That is why I am offering this fair and balanced approach to protecting the PFD today and for generations.