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Bill to Constitutionally Protect the Permanent Fund Dividend Moves Through Committee Process


March 19, 2016
Saturday AM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Passed by the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee this week, Senate Joint Resolution 1 will still allow the legislature to use other permanent fund earnings, but the constitutional amendment provided for in this resolution would ensure that people have a say in determining whether their own share of the permanent fund earnings should be protected as well.

The Alaska Constitution mandates that the Alaska Legislature manage public resources for the benefit of all Alaskans. The permanent fund dividend has become a valued institution, and many Alaskans have come to depend strongly on the dividend to make ends meet, reduce personal debt, and to store away as a nest egg for their children’s education.

If the resolution passes both the House and Senate with a 2/3 vote, a question will be put to the people: Shall the Permanent Fund Dividend Program be enshrined in the Constitution?

“I’m pleased to see SJR1 working its way through the committee process,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D) who sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 1. “There’s a lot of focus on the legislature’s budget process right now, but for Alaskan families, the PFD is a huge part of the budgets being worked out on their own kitchen tables, and has serious impact on their financial situation. It’s time we allowed the people to decide whether the dividend should be protected, and if future generations should also benefit from the state’s oil wealth.”

The economic impact of the Dividend has been enormous over the almost 35-year life of the fund, and countries around the world are looking at the program in hopes of emulating it.

The Permanent Fund Dividend, established in 1982, has become a vital component of Alaska’s economy with much of it spent in the state. While principal in the Permanent Fund is constitutionally protected from being spent, the earnings of the fund can be appropriated by the legislature for any purpose.



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Senator Bill Wielechowski


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