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Governor to spend $250,000 in state funds to share information about his new PFD plan

Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy.(KTVF)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 4:01 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants to spend up to $250,000 in state funds on radio, online and television advertising to share information about his new 50-50 Permanent Fund dividend plan.

The governor’s office posted a request online on Tuesday for media agencies to submit their credentials. The deadline to respond is midday on Friday.

“Governor Dunleavy believes that Alaska must secure its fiscal future, and the first step to achieving this goal is to constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund, the PFD, and Power Cost Equalization,” said Corey Young, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, through a prepared statement.

“But government cannot solve this issue alone,” he continued. “It was through the people of Alaska in 1976 who chose to protect Alaska’s resource wealth for the future generations that allows us to have this conversation today.”

The governor paid $2,800 last September to settle an ethics complaint that he used state funds for political advertising on social media. The settlement was not a fine and Dunleavy did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Young claims this campaign will be different: It won’t call on Alaskans to contact their legislators about the proposal nor will it be forceful, it’s just about sharing information.

The notice states that two-thirds of Alaskans have not heard about Dunleavy’s dividend plan. Young confirmed the source of that data was a statewide poll conducted by Dittman Research that was funded by the bipartisan House majority coalition.

The governor’s information campaign would be funded from his office’s $32 million budget, Young said. The governor’s office says the information campaign is exempt from the state’s procurement code.

Dunleavy’s 50-50 plan would pay out a dividend of roughly $2,350 in 2021. The Dunleavy administration says recent revenue projections mean new statewide taxes would not be needed to pay for it, but fiscal experts are skeptical about that.

A legislative working group is busy trying to forge its own permanent fiscal plan ahead of a delayed special session that’s set to start on Aug. 16.

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