PCE fund can only be protected with a constitutional amendment
August 12, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – Today, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his decision that his administration will not appeal the ruling from the Superior Court regarding the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) endowment. The case, brought by the Alaska Federation of Natives and welcomed by the Dunleavy administration, sought clarity whether the endowment is subject to the annual legislative budgetary reverse sweep vote. Yesterday’s decision, issued by the Superior Court, determined the PCE fund is not subject to Article IX, Section 17(d) of the Alaska Constitution that moves the fund into the Constitutional Budget Reserve for future appropriation.
The Superior Court also ruled that payments for the PCE program, which were authorized by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Dunleavy, can go out immediately to the utilities that provide electricity to the 90,000 residents in rural Alaska.
“My administration welcomed this opportunity to get clarity from the courts on this critical fund which provides an essential service to rural communities across the state,” said Governor Dunleavy. “The court did not address an important political challenge: at any point, the PCE fund can be raided by the legislature with a simple majority vote. That is why my proposed constitutional amendment that enshrines and protects the PCE endowment must pass this year.”
On August 16th, the Alaska Legislature will convene in Juneau for the third special session to consider the Governor’s proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 6, HJR 7) to protect the PFD, the Permanent Fund, and the PCE endowment.