PFD Raffle to Fund Education Passes Senate
JUNEAU – By a vote of 19-1, the Alaska State Senate today approved Senate Bill 78, a bill that would allow Alaskans to voluntarily sign-up for a raffle to fund education – and possibly win big money – when they send in their annual application for the Permanent Fund dividend.
“I thank my colleagues for their support of SB 78, and look forward to working with the members of the House to see the bill enacted,” said Click Bishop (R-Fairbanks), the bill’s sponsor. “I see this bill as a fun way to support education in a new, totally voluntary approach to help solve a piece of the state’s fiscal problem.”
Statewide surveys show that more than 65 percent of Alaskans support current levels or an increase in education funding. The bill creates a new revenue stream for education in a multi-layered structure, while providing a raffle drawing. First, half of the proceeds would go directly to the state’s annual education budget. Second, one quarter of the proceeds would go into an endowment that – after it grows to $1 billion – would spin off income to the education budget. The final one-quarter would go into an endowment to grow the prizes, and 20 percent of that fund would be used each year for prizes.
Alaskans can dedicatee all or part of their Permanent Fund dividend, in $100 chances, to enter the raffle and support education. The bill structures the check-off in a manner similar to the familiar “Pick.Click.Give.” program.
“This is a great opportunity for all Alaskans to show their support of public education,” said Sen. Tom Begich (D-Anchorage).
The bill is now on its way to the Alaska House of Representatives for consideration.