Alaskans are facing historic decisions on the Permanent Fund and PFD that affect every citizen in the state. The Legislature’s plans to restructure the Permanent Fund and PFD for government spending remain on the table into another Special Session. And, another decision on the PFD is on the way in the Alaska Supreme Court with the lawsuit challenging Gov. Walker’s PFD veto in 2016 scheduled for a hearing next week, June 20th in Anchorage at the Boney Courthouse.
The lawsuit was filed last September by Sen. Bill Wielechowski and former State Senators, Clem Tillion and Rick Halford against the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation and the State of Alaska. The case hinges on whether it’s legal for the Governor to veto a law that provides an automatic transfer of funds that go directly to Alaskans. If the veto challenge wins, the money cut from PFD in 2016 by the Governor’s veto will be returned to eligible Alaskans – $1032 per resident.
Besides the Governor’s veto, the PFD and Fund are also under threat from the Governor and Legislature’s restructure plans that have not been approved by a public vote. In 1999, an advisory vote was held when similar restructure plans were proposed by lawmakers. The voters rejected the restructure plan by 83%.
As owners of the Permanent Fund, Alaskans’ input and approval of changes to the Fund system is critical to protecting the Permanent Fund from government spending and mismanagement. Clem Tillion, PFD lawsuit plaintiff and former legislator, commented on this in a recent video interview. He said, “Many people who’ve moved to Alaska and received the dividend don’t realize they actually own the resource. We are a land grant state, we received 100 million acres and the People own it. The Fund is yours. If you allow it to be taken away by politicians who want to change the law, then you deserve to lose it. You should have to fight for what you have (if you are able to do so). And the fight is now. Do not let the legislators steal your dividend.”
In response to these attacks on the PFD, Alaskans are taking action with a Save the PFD Rally next week (Tues., June 20 from 11am-1pm) in front of the Boney Courthouse, 303 K. Street in Anchorage before the PFD lawsuit hearing at the Boney Courthouse (1:30pm, 5th floor). Join this family-friendly, non-partisan, rally to defend Alaskans’ shareholder rights as resource owners.
For more information on protecting the PFD and Fund to share with your neighbors, visit Permanent Fund Defenders’ website at www.pfdak.com and Facebook.