Alaskans wait eagerly each year to receive their annual PFD brought in by royalties earned off oil explorations. In previous years the PFD has climbed north of $2,000, however, recently the annual payout has been capped short by politicians when they needed money to keep the state from going into massive debt. This year our new governor Mike Dunleavy has promised Alaskans that he would pay back that withheld money in conjunction with the next PFD.
Receiving dividends is a unifying tradition each Alaskan shares- when time comes the malls are packed and people are out enjoying themselves. Living here, it is almost like celebrating an extra holiday that is not written on the calendars, but we all prepare for. So, I guess we were all excited to hear that the money that was withheld from previous years would be paid back to us without considering the real cost.
Dunleavy’s proposed plan for a retroactive PFD could be as high as $3,000 for each person who qualifies. This sounds really nice, but what is his plan to pay back so much money?
Mike Dunleavy’s proposed plan to ensure everyone receives a check that big is to cut the budget from sectors of the government and stop spending money that is not there. A feasible option, yet, where are these budget cuts going to come from and how will this affect us as Alaskans is a prime concern. These cuts are aimed at: Alaska’s educational system, healthcare, social services, and state operating cost. So, to be able to pay everyone that much money our Governor is suggesting taking it from somewhere else to be able to give it to Alaskan citizens.
But are these budget cuts worth a retroactive payback of PFD money?
Deciding where to take the money from to make good on his promise to pay out large dividends is a hard decision. The governor’s plan will affect a large group of Alaskans that depend on receiving funds directly from the government to be able to operate. For instance, taking money away from social services would affect everyone from Alaska’s elderly population living at the Senior Pioneer Homes to people who rely on Medicaid. Also taking money out of our educational system, specifically our university, would only make it harder to retain students when they begin to look for a college to attend. And can we really afford to provide anything less than an exceptional educational experience for our future?
Now that his plan is being unraveled; with so many financial repercussions it does not seem like the right thing to do. And this is because the state of Alaska deserves that money distributed fairly throughout its many institutions so it can go on functioning smoothly without budget cuts.
The money we would receive from a retroactive PFD would only exacerbate the current economy we are living in right now.