The people who are upset over the change in the Permanent Fund Dividend payout need to review the enabling legislation and history of the purpose of the Permanent Fund. It is my understanding that the fund was created primarily to provide a means of revenue stabilization and offer a means of balancing revenue sources as oil revenue declines or fluctuate. It was not the dividend program. Think about the alternative options to just solely a personal dividend. What about again having a state capital budget that returns money to communities for needed projects that in turn support small businesses who then can hire people in the community to construct them. I am so appreciative to Gov. Bill Walker for forcing the Legislature to start using the earnings of the fund for the purpose that it was intended. It was a huge political risk. This should have been done years ago before every one of the state savings accounts were drawn down to almost nothing and the state bond rating took a big reduction.
I would rather my dividend went to pay for strong public safety to get criminals off the street and prosecutors to keep them off, for education funding, for management of state resources, for ferry service to the coastal communities, for well-maintained streets and everything else we rely on the state to provide. Let’s be grateful for what we have rather than complaining about what we think we should have.
Thank you, Walker, for your courage and leadership.
My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.