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Alaska groups urge governor not to veto dividend payments

August 13, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Leaders of two Alaska groups fighting for a full Permanent Fund Dividend are arguing that Gov. Mike Dunleavy should not veto the Legislature’s dividend payment, a report said.

The Permanent Fund Defenders are asking the Republican governor to view a PFD — or oil-wealth fund check — of roughly $1,600 as a “down payment,” The Anchorage Daily News reported Monday.

Mark Fish, director of a newer group called Save the PFD, said Monday he believes it is time for the governor to go with the current dividend and resume the fight for a constitutional amendment during the regular legislative session starting in January.

“The PFD keeps many families afloat,” Fish said.

The Defenders said they will back Dunleavy in supporting full payments based on the traditional payout formula in state law and an amendment to enshrine the full payment in Alaska’s constitution.

“We request that the governor not veto the short-funded (Permanent Fund Dividend) and continue his work to add more funds for the dividend according to law,” said Clem Tillion, chair of the Defenders group and a former state Senate president who helped establish the fund in 1976.

A full dividend, in line with a calculation that has not been followed the last three years amid a budget deficit, would equate to checks of roughly $3,000 this year.

Dunleavy vetoed more than $400 million from the state operating budget in June. The Legislature, which failed to override the vetoes, instead sent Dunleavy a bill seeking to restore many of the vetoes. That bill includes money for a dividend of about $1,600, which would be paid to qualified Alaska residents.

Dunleavy has said he will finalize the budget this week.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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