SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Republicans say Walker Administration setting up to
raid Permanent Fund


September 23, 2015
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) - According to Alaska Republican Party Chairman Peter S. Goldberg, Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott have made their most clear indication yet that they intend to use the Alaska Permanent Fund to fund state government.

Goldberg said today, “It was especially startling to hear Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, a Democrat, declare ‘that time is now’ to begin using the Permanent Fund to pay for more of the state’s general operations."

Lt. Governor Mallott, served as a Permanent Fund Corporation trustee (1982 – 1990) and executive director (1995 – 2000). To date, the Alaska Permanent Fund is worth over $51.4 billion. Since 1982, just over $23.3 billion has been distributed to Alaskans through PFD checks.

The governor and lieutenant governor gave extended remarks Monday during the announcement of the annual Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

The Lt. Governor said Monday, "As we look at a budget with a roughly a $3 billion shortfall in general fund revenue, the notion, the clarity of those who founded the fund, those who developed the fund, that ultimately the purpose of the fund was to help meet Alaska's fiscal needs, its state revenue needs when the rainy day occured, when we needed to begin replacing non-renewal oil wealth with renewable financial wealth, that time is now."

Governor Walker said during Monday's announcement, “It is time to have an open and honest conversation about our finances, and how resources like the Permanent Fund can be used as an asset. The vision of the Permanent Fund was to turn a nonrenewable resource into a renewable one, and it is our job to determine how to best use and protect that gift for the benefit of all Alaskans.”

“I do not believe Alaskans are ready to see a raid on the Permanent Fund,” Goldberg said. “The Walker Administration has cut very little state spending, and in fact has hired consultants who are being paid well over a million dollars a year each for work that is spurious at best. We are seeing an expansion of the governor’s office, and now he is softening the target to raid our state’s savings account to pay for government. Unfortunately, this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the party of tax-and-spend.”

Established in 1976 by constitutional amendment, the Alaska Permanent Fund sets aside at least 25 percent of all the state’s mineral royalties and lease payments, and is invested as an income-producing asset for the state—which is set aside in an earnings reserve account. Each year, a dividend is distributed from that account based on the average income of the fund over the previous five years. Income in the earnings reserve account is also available for legislative appropriation.



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Video of Monday's press conference

Office of Governor Bill Walker

Alaska Republican Party


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