Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy lambasted the Alaska Legislature Monday for inaction during the fourth special session, which is set to end today.
Dunleavy called the special session in early October to focus on long-term fiscal policymaking that included his proposal for protecting the Permanent Fund Dividend in the state Constitution. He also proposed a 50-50 split for using earnings from the sovereign wealth fund to pay the PFD dividend and state services.
Here are the governor’s remarks Monday to the News-Miner:
“The Legislature has done nothing. The product that will come out of this session is zero. All we’ve asked is that they take seriously attempts, discussions, and deliberations and then bring things out of the committees to the floor; that’s where it seems to get hung up, for reasons that are purely political.”
Dunleavy said that lawmakers are ignoring economic hardships of Alaskans since the pandemic.
“These are not numbers issues,” Dunleavy said. “No one is still tapping their chin saying, ‘Gee I wonder what’s the price of oil today?’ We all know that. ‘How big is the Permanent Fund?’ We all know that. ‘Don’t we have a pension obligation issue?’ Well that’s closed now.”
“So, our fiscals have improved dramatically, the state’s have improved dramatically, while the fiscals of the individual Alaskans have deteriorated at the same time.”
In response to a question about legislation he introduced in the special session for a supplemental appropriation, the governor reiterated a statement he released on Friday, Oct. 28:
“If the Legislature is unwilling to make the Permanent Fund Dividend whole, legislators could at least make a decision to pay a supplemental PFD under the formula in my 50-50 fiscal plan.”
The appropriations bill would have provided a total dividend payment of about $2,350 per eligible Alaskan. That would yield a second PFD of $1,236, the governor’s office said.