As the Legislature's permanent fund working group held a public meeting Monday to discuss different possible scenarios for the fund and the future of the dividend, protesters started to gather outside Anchorage's Legislative Information Office.

No big decisions were made at the meeting. 

"The ultimate discussion is in the legislature, not in this working group," Rep. Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage, said. "We’re just trying to get as much information out to the public as possible." 

On one side of the PFD debate are those who support using the calculation in Alaska statute, something that hasn't happened for the last four years. There are others who support a departure from the historical calculation. 

Somewhere in the middle, several people believe, is a compromise. 

"We’ve got two camps that are entrenched and haven’t been willing to move," Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, said after the meeting. 

Hughes has supported the full statutory PFD under the historical calculation, but said she is now willing to accept a smaller draw in order to preserve the fund as long as 50% of it goes to Alaskans. 

"We’ll see if anybody else comes off their high horse on the other camp," Hughes said. "And we might get to see some movement if that happens. If no one else is willing to step out, then we’ll see what happens." 

The group Permanent Fund Defenders gathered outside the building holding signs and flags Monday, hoping to get their message across to lawmakers coming and going from the building. The group is against cuts to the PFD over the past four years and opposed to changing the PFD formula without a vote of the people. 

"We have a position and the other side has a position and somewhere in the middle is the compromise we need to meet, and right now they’re not listening to our position," said member Kevin McCabe. "So those people that want to steal the PFD aren’t even considering the damage they’ve done, not only to the economy, but to the people that depend on their permanent fund."  

Last week, Alaskans started receiving $1,606 dividend payments. Under the statutory calculation, it would have been around $2,910.  

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said he still would like to provide a supplemental payment through a special session, but as time passes, that scenario is increasingly less likely to occur. 

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