Letter to the Editor: Changing PFD formula wrong, short-sighted

Alaska needs to work for a sustainable budget and not a quick fix

Changing PFD formula wrong, short-sighted

With the special session going on there have been bills introduced to pay a full PFD and then halve it for the future. This is incredibly short-sighted and shows little economic sense.

It’s wrong AND unnecessary to change the formula to decrease the PFD. The money is covered every year by a portion of the realized earnings from the permanent fund, leaving an equivalent amount for government to spend. The three years of cutting the PFD took $3.2 billion of economic effect (using ISER’s 1.4 multiplier versus government spending) OUT of the economy in a recession. It’s wrong to think the government is better at spending money than people are.

What has been clearly shown to the Legislature and all who have studied the budget is that if you only use the PFD to fund the deficit you won’t have a PFD in two years. If you throw savings in you get to about 2039. If you throw taxes in you just get a few years more. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to balance the budget long-term, i.e. have a sustainable budget, without cutting the budget. The reason for this is that the budget has natural increases with inflation, labor increases and regulatory increases so those increases outpace the revenue that a small state like Alaska can generate. However, every time you cut the budget, it doesn’t just cut this year, but it also cuts all those increases going forward.

This is why the only solution to get to a sustainable budget is to make cuts to a level that can be sustained by a state our size. We already have billions ($3.2 billion this year) that come from oil, and a billion that comes from our investment income, the permanent fund, after paying a full PFD. Alaska needs to work for a sustainable budget and not a quick fix that will just end up killing the PFD and the hopes and dreams of many Alaskans, as government grows unchecked. Please urge your legislators to use real economic thinking, not just a short-term fix by grabbing the PFD, which as I’ve shown doesn’t solve any problems.

— Lance Roberts, Fairbanks

More in Opinion

An array of stickers awaits voters on Election Day 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The case for keeping the parties from controlling our elections

Neither party is about to admit that the primary system they control serves the country poorly

Voters fill out their ballots at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Alaska on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Voter tidbit: Important information about voting in the upcoming elections

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming election dates!

Larry Persily (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: State’s ‘what if’ lawsuit doesn’t much add up

The state’s latest legal endeavor came July 2 in a dubious lawsuit — with a few errors and omissions for poor measure

The entrance to the Homer Electric Association office is seen here in Kenai, Alaska, on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Speak up on net metering program

The program allows members to install and use certain types of renewable generation to offset monthly electric usage and sell excess power to HEA

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs bills for the state’s 2025 fiscal year budget during a private ceremony in Anchorage on Thursday, June 25, 2024. (Official photo from The Office of the Governor)
Alaska’s ‘say yes to everything’ governor is saying ‘no’ to a lot of things

For the governor’s purposes, “everything” can pretty much be defined as all industrial development

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board members, staff and advisors meet Oct. 30, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The concerns of reasonable Alaskans isn’t ‘noise’

During a legislative hearing on Monday, CEO Deven Mitchell referred to controversy it’s created as “noise.”

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Crime pays a lot better than newspapers

I used to think that publishing a quality paper, full of accurate, informative and entertaining news would produce enough revenue to pay the bills

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo
Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom addresses the crowd during an inaugural celebration for her and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Jan. 20, 2023.
Opinion: The many truths Dahlstrom will deny

Real conservatives wouldn’t be trashing the rule of law

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his veto of a wide-ranging education bill during a press conference March 16 at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Governor, please pay more attention to Alaskans

Our governor has been a busy guy on big issues.

Priya Helweg is the acting regional director and executive officer for the Region 10 Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Happy Pride Month

This month is dedicated to acknowledging and uplifting the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI+ community

A roll of “I voted” stickers sit at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Juneau in 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strengthening democracy: Native vote partners to boost voter registration

GOTNV and VPC are partnering to send over 4,000 voter registration applications this month to addresses and P.O. boxes all over Alaska

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict