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Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Will you get the remainder of your PFD?

By John Tracy 5:11 PM December 8, 2016

What are the chances you’ll be seeing the other half of this year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividend?

Recently, an Anchorage superior court judge upheld Gov. Bill Walker’s authority to cut this year’s dividend in half by exercising his veto power. The lawsuit, challenging Walker’s authority, was filed by Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski.

The case is being appealed to the state Supreme Court, and who knows how, or when that case will be resolved.

The other chance for a full dividend comes from the opposite end of the political spectrum — Republican Sen. Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy says he will introduce legislation early in the next session, adding $1,000 back to this year’s dividend.

Dunleavy is consistent in his attitude toward the PFD. He did not join the 15 senators who voted to cap the dividend last session. The House refused to vote on that bill, which is what motivated Walker to issue his veto.

With very little change in the makeup of the Senate it would be a surprise to see a majority of senators flip-flop on last year’s vote, now that the election is behind them.

Walker vetoed half the dividend for the same reason the Senate voted to cap it — the Alaska’s budget dilemma just continues to get worse.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know how we can expect to pay ourselves millions when we’re bleeding billions from our savings, but I accept that not everybody feels the same.

Regardless of where you stand, the question remains, will you get a full dividend this year?

My answer is the same whether you’re asking me if rising oil prices will save us, or Bill Walker will become Alaska’s most popular governor ever. Don’t count on it.

John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

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