SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Judge Sides With Governor: Walker Has Authority to Cut PFD

November 17, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - Today the Alaska Superior Court ruled in favor of Governor Bill Walker's veto cut of the permanent dividend fund from $2,052 per Alaskan to $1,022. Superior Court Judge William Morse's decision followed arguments presented by both sides in the case today in Anchorage.

Governor Walker responded in a prepared statement to the Superior Court’s decision upholding his veto of PFD funds. Walker said, “My decision to veto half of this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend money was one of the most difficult and uncomfortable actions I have taken so far as Governor. However, given our $3.5 billion deficit, the action was necessary. Using part of the Permanent Fund earnings is the cornerstone of the plan to fix Alaska’s fiscal crisis. I am pleased with the timeliness of the Superior Court ruling, as it allows us to continue focusing on resolving our budget deficit and creating a sustainable future for all Alaskans.”

Alaska Senator Bill Wielechowski (D) announced in September that he along with former Senators Clem Tillion, and Rick Halford filed this lawsuit saying the Governor's action was unconstitutional and sought to compel the Permanent Fund Corporation to transfer the amount necessary to pay all Alaskans a full PFD. The plaintiffs demanded a full dividend payout for 2016 and asked the court to order the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to transfer funds from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve account to the Dividend Fund and to then be disbursed to eligible residents in the form of a supplemental PFD check.

Both sides had urged an expedited resolution to the lawsuit over the Governor's decision to cap the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) checks at $1,022 and arguments were presented by both sides in the case today in Anchorage.

Wielechowski served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs, along with Andrew Erickson. State attorney Margaret Patton Walsh presented oral arguments before Anchorage Superior Court Judge William Morse today in Anchorage.

Wielechowski informed the media today that he plans to appeal the dividend case to the Alaska Supreme Court.




Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews





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