FAIRBANKS, AK Community members wanting a full Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) gathered for a parade of vehicles and protest rally.
The event started near Terminal and Illionois Street and paraded through town before stopping in front of the Legislative Information Offices off Sadler way to hold signs.
The rally was also held in Anchorage and Soldotna.
The Fairbanks organizer, Shelly Shupe, wants a full statutory PFD. She says the Alaska Legislature passed the perfect opportunity to put economic relief in people’s hands.
“We are done being quiet, we are done sitting by,” Shupe said. “If there has ever been a rainy day, I would say there has been about 40 of them now in a row, but it’s raining on this beautiful day and they [the legislature] could have done the right thing.”
Shupe said the federal stimulus check is not enough. “People are scared, people are jobless, and we are counting on them to do the right thing and they just won’t. So here we are and we are not going to be silenced.”
Newly appointed District three Representative Mike Prax, says he supports funding the full permanent fund dividend because it is a statutory obligation of the legislature. He says by the statute if you stay here a year, you are entitle to a certain amount of money by a formula “The legislature is not funding that formula, but the state still has the debt to the people and they should honor that debt,” Prax said.
Prax went on to say that if the permanent fund dividend were to be paid in full, people will need to be prepared to make tough choices later. “Going forward we are going to have decide between the PFD and other government services because going forward, there won’t be enough money to provide all the government services, pay the PFD and keep the permanent fund going. It’s going to run out. We have some tough decisions to make.”
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