Don't penalize Alaskans serving in the military

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Alaska Legislature is considering a bill that would deny permanent fund dividends to currently eligible Alaskans on active duty until they are discharged and return to Alaska. Even then, they would not get interest on the money that has been withheld from them. People from Alaska who have chosen to make the military a career would not get their dividend until they retire.

The reason for this proposed law is that non-resident military people who get transferred to Alaska for one tour, become eligible for the dividend and will continue to get it when they are transferred out as long as they swear they intend to return when they get out of the military. That is a problem but our Alaskan men and women shouldn't have to suffer because of it.

This proposed legislation is not the only problem with our young men and women in the military. In April 2003, my grandson who was serving in Iraq at the time received a form letter from the PFD office saying he needed to supply a copy of his enlistment papers and his last pay stub for 2002 to get his dividend. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough room in his flack jacket to file his personal records, so after trying unsuccessfully a number of times to explain his situation, he finally said "phooey on it" (or words to that effect) and gave it up as a lost cause.

Please don't let the legislators throw the baby out with the bath water. They can look for another way to protect the permanent fund without taking much needed funds from our underpaid Alaskans serving in the military. Call, write or e-mail your legislators and tell them to vote against this stupid law.

Mike Case


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