Community Perspective

Governor is right to push for a full permanent fund dividend

When I wrote in June of 2018 about my support for then candidate Mike Dunleavy, after being away from politics for 20 years, I knew some would oppose his plan. Now, nearly a year and half later, he’s stood firm while many of our “friends” have lost their way.

Mike’s campaign themes were:

• Government that governs less governs best. It also is easier to manage. Many across this state don’t want a smaller government, they want to take the dividend, raise taxes and buy more government. Mike wants less government.

• Across this state, elected officials want the people’s dividend to spend. They didn’t ask and won’t ask. They passed laws they haven’t followed and have confiscated our share of the royalty that was set aside for we the people. Mike thinks the dividend belongs to the people.

• When government can take something from you, you’re not free. There’s no partnering with government. We’ve seen that laws don’t matter. Words don’t matter. Elections may not matter. Mike wants to return your freedom.

• I’ve seen two studies from the Institute of Social and Economic Research that show how damaging cutting the dividend is to Alaska families, yet few in the Legislature seem to care. Mike thinks the decision is up to the people.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has stood firm. He supports the full PFD. He knows that taking it is the most obvious tax on Alaskans. Rich, poor, capping the PFD is one thing: a tax to grow government. Many of the folks who are fighting him are also fighting his plan to create private sector wealth in this state.

We don’t have an effective spending cap because it was set based on a spending peak. We’ve seen budgets that only track the revenues from oil up and never any foresight for what happens when oil prices drop and revenues go down. The budgets never really reduce.

We now know what happens. For the past four years they took our dividend and didn’t ask us or thank us. Not a word. Oh, a few said, “This is for your own good” and then they grew government.

Let me ask you, did your life get better by government keeping over half of your PFD? That’s like saying your life is better without the wheel or fire. Of course, your life isn’t better with Juneau taking your dividend.

Our governor wants to grow the private sector — not government. But in watching all the fighting, it’s clear few in Juneau share that vision. More taxes. More spending. Less liberty. Oil taxes correctly go to government. The royalty that funds the dividend is the people’s share. It is disappointing to see that so very few politicians see that difference.

You have the power to change the Legislature by voting for people who share your view. Alaskans need to act now. Vote in the primary election in August. Vote to replace all legislators who do not support a full PFD and smaller government.

Dick Randolph is a longtime insurance agency owner in Fairbanks and served as a member of the Alaska House of Representatives.

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