Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing a staggered payment plan as a way to pay back reduced Permanent Fund dividend payouts from each of the last three years.

The plan on Wednesday morning was introduced in Senate Bill 23 during a Senate floor session.

It calls for the following payment schedule:

•   $1,061 from 2016 to be paid this year to all who received a dividend three years ago and remain eligible this year.
•   $1,289 from 2017 to those who received a dividend two years ago and will be eligible in 2020.
•   $1,328 from 2018 to Alaskans who received a dividend last year and will be eligible in 2021.

Former Gov. Bill Walker reduced the 2016 payout with a veto; each of the next two years the Legislature reduced the sum from the statutory formula. Dunleavy discussed his plan further in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

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“We will complete the back pay over several years, make this right and then move forward,” he said. “If the people of Alaska want to change the PFD program or the Permanent Fund, they should be part of the change.

One of Dunleavy’s campaign platforms was to restore dividends from each of the last three years and follow the statutory formula this year.

He said last week that he believes the dividend is a transfer from the Permanent Fund Corp. to Alaskans and not an appropriation.

“We want people to understand when we campaign on commitments, you have to fulfill those commitments and when you have laws in place, you have to follow those laws,” Dunleavy said.

The bill was assigned to the Senate State Affairs and Finance committees. In a prepared statement, the Senate said the bills will be given thorough vetting.

The House cannot receive bills from the governor because it has not formal organization that establishes who is in charge.

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