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October 4, 2019
Thursday was PFD Day
The annual Permanent Fund Dividends (PFDs) paid out to eligible Alaskans started hitting bank accounts on Thursday. An estimated 631,000 Alaskans will receive a payment of $1,606 to use as they see fit. Sure, some people may use their PFD to do something extravagant, but others will use it to survive the coming harsh winter. The PFD is your share of Alaska’s accumulated resource wealth, and you can use it any way you want.
The Permanent Fund and the dividends paid from the fund are uniquely Alaskan. Nowhere else on earth is resource wealth shared directly with the people, which is why the PFD is supported by conservatives and progressives alike. The popularity of Alaska’s dividend program is why people across the globe look to Alaska as a model for how to share resource wealth with everyone, not just the well-connected and powerful.
I am glad this year’s PFD is as large as it is, but it could have been much larger if the formula set out in state law had been followed. A full statutory PFD of $2,910 would have been just the boost our struggling economy needs to prevent another recession.
This year, I fought hard for the full PFD during the regular session and two special sessions. I did so because the data clearly shows that a large and growing PFD is a meaningful form of fiscal security for low- and moderate-income people who struggle with the high cost of living in Alaska. Neighbors, I will continue to advocate for the full PFD amount if the Governor calls a third special session later this fall.
PFDs started going out Thursday, but not everyone will receive a check right away. The $1,606 payment was made Thursday for those who filled out their application online and chose to have the payment direct deposited into their bank account. Those who filled out a paper application or asked for a paper check will begin receiving checks on October 24. For more details, click on the graphic below to be taken to the Permanent Fund Dividend Division website.
Support Alaska’s Breweries and Distilleries
There is currently a dispute in Alaska about whether to allow breweries and distilleries to host public events. The Alaska Legislature never intended to close off Alaska’s breweries and distilleries in this way. I should know because I carried and passed the bill that allowed distilleries to have tasting rooms in the first place. Frankly, this recent reinterpretation of state law endangers too many small businesses and a growing industry in Alaska that is working on competing with big outside breweries and distilleries.
The Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office is considering new regulations to limit the ability for breweries and distilleries to hold events like classes, parties, and even music concerts. These proposed new rules run counter to the legislative intent when the law was originally passed, which is why I recently joined ten of my colleagues in signing a letter to the Director of the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) stressing that “heavy-handed” regulations could stifle the success of Alaska’s breweries and distilleries. In the letter, we wrote that “if there is a discrepancy in statute that needs clarification, then we implore AMCO to allow the Legislature to revise the statute through legislation during the 2020 regular session rather than disrupt local business.”
I fully support the power of the state to regulate the alcohol and marijuana industries. The people of Alaska demand these industries be operated safely. However, the people don’t want these industries to be over-regulated such that their very existence is threatened. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what’s at stake in this current dispute.
I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!
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