In June of this year, at the end of what became the next to last extension of the legislature’s 2016 session, the House Finance Committee voted on whether to advance SB 128 to the floor.
That bill, which already had passed the Senate, proposed permanently to cut (what supporters refer to euphemistically as “restructure”) the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD).
By that point the Alaska economy already was in an economic recession. And the legislature already had been advised by the University of Alaska-Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) — the state’s best economic think tank — that cutting the PFD was the “most regressive” and would have the “largest adverse impact on the [overall Alaska] economy” of all the state’s fiscal options. Short-Run Economic Impacts of Alaska Fiscal Options, https://goo.gl/ZxR1Hw at A-12, A- 15 (March 2016).
In short, it was clear that making a permanent cut in the PFD was absolutely the worst step possible the state could make at that point from the perspective of both the overall Alaska economy and, because of its regressive nature, a large number — indeed a majority — of individual Alaskans.
Nonetheless, that very step was urged on Committee members by the Senate, the Governor, many of their colleagues in the House, higher income constituents who stood to benefit from transferring the largest share of the burden of financing government to those lower down the economic scale and, in addition, a gaggle of lobbyists and other entities who stood to benefit from continued high government spending levels that the resulting transfer of money from the state’s private economy to government would help maintain.
Despite the ongoing pressure, however, when it came down to the final vote six members of the Committee stood up against the bill, killing it (on a 6-5 vote) for the session. In doing so, they put the health and welfare of the state’s overall economy and the majority of Alaskans ahead of those lobbying for government-related special interests. The six who voted against were a bi-partisan majority composed of Reps. Lynn Gattis, David Guttenberg, Scott Kawasaki, Lance Pruitt, Dan Saddler and Tammie Wilson.
Now, those same special interests that tried to pass the bill are running independent expenditure efforts in the current election cycle particularly directed at two of the six — Reps. Pruitt and Wilson.
While my effort alone won’t match that of those who are seeking to make an example of Rep. Pruitt as part of an ongoing effort to intimidate those opposed to cutting the PFD, I am stepping up to increase the size of my megaphone and by doing so, hope to encourage others to do the same.
I will be extending the reach of the comments I make regularly here in support of Rep. Pruitt with a radio and digital based independent expenditure effort.
Here is the radio ad:
I’m Brad Keithley, founder of Alaskans for Sustainable Budgets, where I’ve been working to develop real solutions to Alaska’s economic situation.
This year’s General Election, on November 8th, is critical to the future of the entire state and I wanted to let you know that in East Anchorage House District 27, I’m supporting Republican Lance Pruitt.
This past session the big government crowd tried hard to enact a permanent cut to the PFD and the Senate even passed it. But when it came time in the House, Lance was one of six key legislators that stood their ground and voted it down.
Alaska is in a recession and cutting the PFD makes it worse. In fact, recently Alaska’s best economic think tank concluded that of all options, cutting the PFD has the worst impact on Alaska’s overall economy.
Lance stood his ground when it counted. On November 8th it’s time for voters in East Anchorage House District 27 to stand with Lance Pruitt for a sustainable Alaska economy.
This communication was paid for by Brad Keithley. This notice to voters is required by Alaska law. I certify this advertisement isn’t authorized, paid for or approved by the candidate.
For those interested in more information, Lance’s website is www.lancepruitt.com. I encourage you to visit it or, for those in the district, take the opportunity to talk to Lance directly.