Dunleavy’s office looks to spend $250K on advertising his Permanent Fund amendment

A man in a suit and tie behind a podium.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy at a news conference in June. (Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has proposed changing the state’s constitution to include the Permanent Fund dividend.

Now, his office is willing to spend up to $250,000 to spread the word about his proposal.

The governor’s office has posted a request for media agencies interested in contracting with the state for the campaign. Agencies have until Friday to respond. 

In the request, the state noted that 67% of Alaskans in a recent poll were unfamiliar with Dunleavy’s amendment proposal. For an amendment to pass, a majority of voters must approve it.

Under Dunleavy’s proposal, an amendment to the Alaska Constitution would cement the annual draw from the Permanent Fund to pay for PFDs and the state budget. The Power Coast Equalization program would be added, too.

PFDs would be set at half of the annual draw. The current estimated amount of this year’s dividend would be roughly $2,350 under the proposal. 

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There currently is no funding for PFDs this year. Under the budget the Legislature passed, dividends would have been just over $500. Dunleavy vetoed that amount, saying they should be larger.

In an emailed statement, Dunleavy’s office said the governor believes constitutionally protecting the Permanent Fund, the PFD and Power Cost Equalization is the first step to securing the future of state finances. 

Dunleavy’s office said money for the advertising campaign would come from the governor’s office’s budget, and compared it to similar spending in previous administrations. It will be spent on radio and online advertisements.

The request says the advertising is exempt from the state law that sets requirements for state contracts, such as a competitive bidding process. 

Dunleavy agreed to reimburse the state $2,800 last year to settle an ethics complaint over advertising that criticized the governor’s opponents and praised his allies. The settlement said that Dunleavy did not admit wrongdoing. 

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Andrew Kitchenman is the state government and politics reporter for Alaska Public Media and KTOO in Juneau. Reach him at akitchenman@alaskapublic.org.

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