What others say: PFD shouldn’t be guaranteed

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:24pm
  • Opinion

A resolution introduced this week would constitutionally protect Alaskans’ Permanent Fund Dividend checks, but the annual payout should be treated more like a luxury, rather than an entitlement.

Proposed by House Democrats, HJR17 would guarantee residents continue getting their share of oil profits now and long into the future — that we can get behind. But it shouldn’t happen at the expense of what’s good for the state, like infrastructure and schooling.

Furthermore, the resolution seems a bit premature considering no one is making a serious push to use dividends for other purposes.

As Alaskans, we like getting our share of oil profits. But we also like not paying a state income tax. In all likelihood one of the two will have to end at some point, whether it’s in five years, or 10, or 100.

Passing HJR17 could potentially mean every working Alaskan would some day have to pay state taxes from every paycheck they earn so that all Alaskans (working or otherwise) can collect a few hundred dollars in the fall.

Let’s face it, if the situation ever becomes so dire that dividends are needed to balance the state’s budget, the PFD checks going out would be a far cry from the $1,000 or more Alaskans have come to expect. A huge economic crash could result in Alaskans being guaranteed a percentage of little to nothing.

The 2010 push to guarantee PFDs failed because lawmakers knew it painted Alaska into a corner and limited options far too much. The same arguments hold true today.

If lawmakers ever make a serious push to do away with dividends altogether, a discussion about how we use dividends will be warranted. Maybe then we take up the conversation about guaranteeing dividends.

In the meantime, we need to remember dividends are a luxury, and HJR17 would turn them into an entitlement.

— Juneau Empire,

Feb. 9

More in Opinion

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: The foolish men claiming self-defense

It’s not just misguided teenagers carrying guns who find themselves in trouble with the law.

Opinion: State defends its right to cut nonexistent taxes

This from a state that has no property tax on homes or businesses, only on the oil industry.

Dr. Jay Butler, former chief medical officer for the State of Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccines

The COVID vaccines remain our strongest tool in combating the pandemic and helping us return to our lives and the things we love and cherish.

A resident casts their vote in the regular municipal election Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: All votes matter

In the beginning, only property-holding white men could vote.

Cristen San Roman. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Is management of Cook Inlet catered to special interest groups?

If these fish are so at risk, why is BOEM able to move forward with lease sale 258?

Homer Foundation
Point of View: Grateful for the hidden ‘good’

Gratitude: Noun The state of being grateful; thankfulness. The state or quality… Continue reading

Homer High School Principal Douglas Waclawski. (Photo provided)
Point of View: What is Homer High School about?

What I consider Homer High’s strength is that we are a place for learning.

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. (courtesy photo)
Alaska Voices: Invent your future at UAA

At UAA we’re providing the tools to help students of all ages and skills chart a new course forward.

A registered nurse prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at the pop-up clinic on the Spit on May 27. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Alaska Voices: Vaccination is the still best protection from COVID-19

The Alaska State Medical Association encourages you to protect yourselves and your community from preventable illness by getting recommended vaccines.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
The sad diminishment of Rep. Don Young

Young seems afraid to demand his party leader defend the dignity of the institution he loves.

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska Voices: Restore our strong campaign donation limits

Without campaign spending limits, the ideal of one person, one vote is no longer really true.

The Final Redistricting Map approved for the Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna area is seen on Nov. 9, 2021. (Map via akredistrict.org)
Alaska Voices: The Alaska Redistricting Board’s last-minute gerrymandering failed Alaska

Our Constitution outlines rules for a redistricting process designed to uphold public trust.