News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator MacKinnon
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2015
Senate Commends Governor for Highlighting Fiscal Crisis
Alaska Senators say dividend amount doesn’t accurately reflect state’s financial situation
ANCHORAGE – Members of the Alaska Senate Majority commended Governor Bill Walker today for cautioning against associating this year’s large $2,072 Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) amount with an improvement in the state’s financial situation.
“Our state is facing an unprecedented budget shortfall of almost $4 billion,” said Senator Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River). “While we certainly all look forward to the extra income, it’s important to emphasize that this year’s PFD amount in no way mirrors the state’s fiscal reality and I commend the governor for doing so.”
The PFD payment is based on a five-year average of earnings in the stock market as well as several other factors, and doesn’t accurately reflect the state’s budget woes.
“Winter is coming so I would encourage Alaskans to use their dividends well,” said Senator Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks). “In the Legislature we will work to make Alaska’s economy a powerhouse again.”
At current rates of spending and projected revenue, the state is expected to run out of savings outside the Permanent Fund by fiscal year 2018.
“It was encouraging to see the governor highlight the state’s tremendous financial problem at today’s PFD announcement,” said Senate President Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage). “The Senate will be working overtime with the administration in the upcoming session to reduce government spending and build a sustainable budget.”
The current price of oil is roughly $47 per barrel and isn’t expected to increase in the near future.
For more information, please contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 269-0147.