JUNEAU, Alaska --- UPDATE: Governor Mike Dunleavy said earlier today that if the Bill passes, he will veto it, adding, "SB 1002 kills the Permanent Fund Dividend as we know it."
In the continued debate over the PFD, the Senate is calling for a smaller dividend for this year.
Is the Permanent Fund Dividend sustainable? According to the Alaska State Legislature, it's not. Two weeks ago, the House proposed HB 1005 to try to deal with the PFD. The bill called for a change to future calculations of the dividend, something the public have said they were against.
Today, the Senate proposed its own fix, reducing it by close to half. Senate Bill 1002 proposes a $1,600 dividend this year, the same amount as last year. That's significantly smaller than the calculation which calls for around $3,000 dollars.
Speaker of the House, Bryce Edgmon, says he thinks the House would support the bill. Governor Mike Dunleavy might be another story. Since he has been elected, Dunleavy has made it clear he wants the full calculation to be followed. He even went as far as suggesting the state pay back the other portions not payed-out from the PFD over the last three years.
In the Senate Rules Committee, North Pole Senator John Coghill said the reason why the Senate is not talking about changing the PFD calculation, is because the special session prevents them from deciding what the new numbers would be. He went on to say that the bill aims to stabilize the dividend for future generations.
"I've often said that us baby boomers, we had some of the best building opportunity Alaska's ever seen," said Sen. John Coghill. "I think it's important that we take the benefit that we've been given over the last 50 years, and make sure that we send the next generation, some part of the benefit of the wealth of this state."
SB 1002 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee and has not been voted on by either body.