JUNEAU, Alaska Update:
We spoke to Representative LeBon, who said he wanted to hear more from the public about the bill. He went on to say that budgets are a balancing act, and that the PFD itself is not going anywhere.
"I have Grandchildren that I want to see receive a healthy PFD throughout their entire lives," began Bart LeBon; "but, that doesn't mean we don't address the balance and funding for education, for state troopers, for road maintenance, other important state services provided through state government that we can't ignore just at the expense of one program."
The Alaska House Finance Committee is proposing long term changes to the PFD formula in the most recent Special Session.
House Bill 1005 is an appropriations act designed to change the formula of the Permanent Fund Dividend. While it does give the full PFD for this year, it calls for a change to the percentage given to Alaska citizens in the future. That calculation would have to be voted on and approved in a separate bill not yet submitted. It is unclear what that calculation would be.
Another part of the bill states money from the budget reserve fund would be put into the dividend fund while the interest from that money would be used towards operating and capital budgets in the future.
In this morning’s meeting, the House Finance Committee voted 7 to 3, to make the bill a working document. Both representatives of the Interior in the committee, Bart LeBon and Tammie Wilson, voted in favor of moving the bill forward. After that the committee went to public testimony where the public overwhelmingly spoke against the approval of the bill.
Other house bills were also proposed with regards to the PFD. HB 1002 through 1004, though different, all give the full current PFD calculation. During public testimony, individuals expressed their support of these bills.
Public testimony for HB 1005 is scheduled to continue at 5pm this evening. Those wishing to comment on the bill can call the Juneau Legislative Information Office at (907) 456-4648 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.