By Byron Whitesides
August 17, 2008
I recently sent the following
email to my state representation, Senator Stedman and Representative
Johansen . I also forwarded it to Govenor Palin, and received
a response from her representative, Jerry Burnett, Administrative
Services Director, Alaska Department of Revenue.
My "complaint" to them was that the legislature has
taken the energy credit/resource rebate and turned it into a
PFD bonus, and in the process has left out many Alaskan who don't
qualify for the PFD this year for a multitude of reason.
As I understood, this was supposed to help Alaskan's with the
high cost of energy here. I just read a few days ago, that the
average price of fuel is $0.85 per gallon more than the lower
48, and we all know it is much higher in the remote areas of
In the last few days, I have been made aware of 7 persons in
my small group of family and associates, who will not receive
this energy credit because it has been tied to the PFD. I feel
that this is an injustice that can not be allowed, and urge you
all to contact your state representation and governors office
and complain about this. Why should PFD recipients who live
in the lower 48 receive this energy credit while bona fide Alaska
residents don't? This was to help Alaskan's who have the highest
cost of living in the USA. This money needs to be spent here
in Alaska helping Alaskans and Alaskan businesses who are really
hurting trying to cope with the outrageous cost of fuel which
has increased the costs of all goods and services and strained
many households to the breaking point.
Here are the reasons I was given for the legislature to attach
this energy credit to the PFD.
The Legislature amended the bill to provide that only persons
qualify for the 2008 PFD (and about 400 disabled veterans who
specific VA benefit which precludes them from applying for a
receive the Resource Rebate.
The reasons given by Legislators
in Committee for this change included:
1. The standards for PFD eligibility have been tested in court
upheld. 2. Combining the Resource Rebate with the PFD saves
administrative costs. 3. Concerns that a number of short-term
would simply take the money and leave the state. 4. Concerns
fraud with a one-time application. There were a number of opportunities
for public comment and there was very little testimony opposing
I feel these reasons are pretty lame and am really tired of having
representation that is supposed to be representing ALASKANS,
who just take the easy way out instead of doing what is right
If they are concerned that some seasonal worker are going to
cheat and take the money and leave, have the registration period
in October when most have left. There are ways to see that Alaskan's
are the one to receive help, just use a little imagination, and
it is a travesty to reject bona fide residents because you fear
a few cheaters!
I feel that there should be an extended registration period for
bona fide Alaska RESIDENTS who are being left out when this was
made into a "PFD BONUS", so that Alaskans and Alaska
businesses are helped as this was originally intended.
I think that there are going to be a lot of Alaskan families
and children that are going to be harmed by tying this energy
assistance to the PFD. I am a lifelong Alaskan and do not support
a PFD Bonus disguised as an energy assistance program that leaves
many residents, "in the cold and dark".
your neighbor and lifelong Alaska resident,
Hello Senator Stedman,
I am curious how the new energy credit/resource rebate that just
passed is going to be administered. I read in one of the online
newspapers it was going to come with the permanent fund dividend
payment, which brings the question, what about residents that
aren't getting a permanent fund dividend payment for one reason
My youngest son and family moved back here in early February
and don't yet qualify for a permanent fund. They are renting
a house and heat is costing them $100-$200 per month in summer
and they have the heat turned off all day! When they moved
into this duplex in March, it was over $300 per month and they
were keeping the heat down. They need this energy credit just
to be able to survive, so is there some way residents that don't
yet qualify for the permanent fund dividend can apply for and
receive the energy credit?
I am also concerned about a friend who I worked with for many
years. This 67 year old Alaska Native, who is permanently disabled,
had a death in his family this spring just around the end of
March, and forgot to send his permanent fund application in on
time. I think he might have been a week or two late. He recently
got help from KIC here, to assist him getting things straightened
out, and thinks that he might get it late or maybe next year
at latest, but still is not sure about getting it! What happens
to him on his small pension and social security disability pension?
Does he not get the energy credit even though he is a resident
and has lived here all his life? Is he really going to get his
permanent fund or will it be denied because he was human, and
made a mistake?
Three years ago, my stepdaughter who lives in Klawock, was pregnant
with her 4th son who was born on May 1st. She had some complications
and other family problems in the couple months preceding her
birth, and though she thought she had filled out and sent in
the permanent fund applications for herself, her husband, and
three sons, a short time after the birth of her son she discovered
the applications in a pile of papers! She sent them in late,
and even went through some kind of appeal, but to no good, the
family didn't get the five permanent funds they were counting
on! This was a huge penalty to their family for making a mistake,
as after all we are all human and subject to making mistakes,
and their was no doubt they were Alaskan's and fully
qualified to receive the dividend except for the late filing.
Seems to me that losing the dividend because of making a mistake
like late filing, is a pretty severe penalty for the mistake.
My friend who because of the death of his cousin with whom he
was very close, and then having to transport her body on his
boat over to Metlakatla for her burial and then forgot to send
his application in on time, now faces the loss of $2000 or more
income to him because of forgetfulness in an extremely trying
period for him! Do you think it reasonable that we should need
the memory of our twenties when almost seventy and then penalized
$2000 for having the memory of 67?
Meanwhile, military and civil service families that serve in
Alaska and become eligible for the permanent fund, can continue
to claim they are Alaskan residents after they leave Alaska and
are transferred elsewhere, and continue collecting the dividend.
Does anyone ever check to see if they register to vote anywhere
else, have they purchased a home elsewhere, and how long have
they lived elsewhere? Because it seems to me that many of these
persons/families have no intention of ever returning to live
in Alaska and are receiving a BIG gift from Alaska simply because
they were lucky enough to be stationed here at one time. Are
they going to collect the energy credit/resource rebate also????
I feel that the bureaucrats who administer the permanent fund
dividend, and the politicians who are their ultimate bosses,
would do well to realize their job is to assist and represent
Alaskan Residents, that is persons who are actually living here
in Alaska, and these are the persons who should be benefiting
from the permanent fund dividend,and energy or resource rebate
whatever it is called.
For a person who is qualified to receive a permanent fund dividend,
and who is known and is provable to be living in Alaska, to be
disqualified from receiving the dividend simply from a simple
mistake of not filing on time, is a travesty! This seems far
too severe a penalty for actual Alaskan residents and families,
and I suggest to you that maybe receiving the dividend late would
be a more fair solution. If a person makes a mistake and is
a month or two late filing because of some oversight or problem,
maybe that person should receive the dividend several month later
than the rest? I am only suggesting this for the persons actually
living here in Alaska. Because our expenses are so much more
here, and the cost of living so much higher, that penalizing
families the loss of their dividends for forgetting to file timely
is harmful to families and their children. Should the children
be penalized $2000 because their parent didn't file timely?
How about the elderly, should they be penalized for not having
the memory of their youth?
I know that there is a worry about the persons filing late being
"cheaters". Pardon me, if they can prove they are
really living in Alaska and have been and are continuing to live
in Alaska, well I'll take my chance with the "cheaters"
who are really living here, and who made a simple mistake. SCREW
the "cheaters" who claim to be Alaska residents but
never received a dividend before the U.S. government sent them
here for a temporary assignment and now reside elsewhere but
are continuing to claim to be a resident just waiting to return,
just keep the checks coming please! I'm not talking about our
sons and daughters who are off to college or serving in the military,
and they should be easy to identify.
Thank you for reading this, and the consideration I know you
will give to the problems I have related to you. I know that
in order for you to correct the problems, a person like me has
to complain and let you know what the problems are.
Although my question is about how to file for the energy credit/resource
rebate if you aren't receiving a dividend, because in the Anchorage
Daily News Online it appeared to be tied to the permanent fund
dividend, you got to hear my "rant" about what I feel
is not right and unfair to Alaskans with the permanent fund.
I surely hope you aren't going to tell me that my son and family
aren't going to qualify for the energy credit/resource rebate,
while living here in Ketchikan with their children in school,
and suffering the high cost of living here, and that this rebate
is going to automatically go to anyone who has qualified for
a dividend and is living elsewhere.
Best regards and thanks for the help,
Lifelong 60 year resident of Alaska and Ketchikan,
Senator Stedman <Senator_Bert_Stedman@legis.state.ak.us>
Representative Johansen <Rep_Kyle_Johansen@legis.state.ak.us>
Gov's representative, Jerry Burnett, <email@example.com>
Administrative Services Director, Alaska Department of Revenue.
Received August 15, 2008 -
Published August 17, 2008
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