JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) — The Alaska Legislature has put in place an interim budget agreement that would pay about $3,800 to every eligible Alaskan this year.
Budgeted cash payments are split between a 50-50 Dividend from the Permanent Fund over $2,500 and a one-time energy relief check of $1,300. Three-quarters of the legislature is needed to approve the levy on a savings account to pay half of the energy relief check, meaning that if that fails, the final cash payment amount would drop to around $3,150.
The House of Representatives and the Senate will still have to adopt the final finance bill on Wednesday, the last day of the legislative session. Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also expected to approve the budget when it reaches his desk.
The final amount of cash payments in the budget was subject to days in camera proceedings and delays. The figure of $3,800 was presented as a compromise between the $5,500 in the Senate budget and the $2,500 in the House budget.
The Governor urged the Legislative Assembly to approve “at least” a dividend of $3,700 last month, and he wanted it to be as close as possible to a full statutory dividend of $4,200.
“Governor Dunleavy looks forward to hearing what amount the conference committee determines will be appropriate for this year’s PFD,” Jeff Turner, spokesman for the governor’s office, said in an email Monday.
Some members of the Legislative Assembly have pushed for a larger dividend this year, arguing that high inflation and high energy prices warrant a larger check. Others said there could be deficit issues, particularly if the price of oil drops.
Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski has been a longtime supporter of a statutory dividend, but noted that this year’s figure would be 90% of the full PFD of $4,200. Representative Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, raised similar concerns.
This is a developing story and will be updated
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