"An Act relating to service in the peace corps and members of the United States Olympic Team as allowable absences from the state for purposes of eligibility for permanent fund dividends and to the period for filing an application for a permanent fund dividend; authorizing the Department of Revenue to issue administrative orders imposing sanctions for certain misrepresentations or other actions concerning eligibility for a permanent fund dividend and providing for administrative appeal of those orders; and providing for an effective date. "
"Peace Corps Volunteers deserve the gratitude that they have earned in their time as volunteers to have the opportunity to receive their permanent fund dividend."
- Rep. McGuire
Alaskans are known for being proud of their great state. But even beyond that, Alaskans are proud to be Americans. Many Alaskans consider serving or volunteering their time as a way to give back to the country what has been given to them. Many serve in the military; others choose to make conditions better for others by devoting two years of their lives to the Peace Corps. These Alaskans play a major role in promoting democracy in other countries and representing us as Americans.
Peace Corps Volunteers sacrifice time with family, often live in less comfortable conditions, and many times place themselves in harms way to serve our country. We should not cause them to sacrifice further by requiring them to forfeit their permanent fund dividends during their time overseas.
The policy decision has been made to provide every qualifying Alaskan man, woman and child with a dividend from the permanent fund. Alaskan Peace Corps Volunteers meet all the requirements, have the intent to return to the state and yet they are denied their opportunity to receive a dividend. Peace Corps Volunteers were one of the original groups that were a recognizable exemption. In 1998, amid wide-range debate about who to add and who to leave off, Peace Corps Volunteers were cut from the list. If the Peace Corps Volunteers were added to the list of recognizable exemptions, it will make the difference of less than a penny on each Alaskan's dividend.
Peace Corps Volunteers deserve the gratitude that they have earned in their time as volunteers to have the opportunity to receive their permanent fund dividend. HB 127 will add Peace Corps Volunteers as an allowable absence for the purpose of filing and receiving an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.