Dividend fight could snarl capital budget work
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):
The fight over the dividend Alaskans receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund could hamper efforts to finalize a state infrastructure budget.
Major provisions in the capital budget draft that advanced from the House Finance Committee Tuesday would require support from three-quarters of the House – or at least 30 of the House’s 40 members.
House Minority Leader Lance Pruitt says he cannot see any of his 15 members lending their support without funding for an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend settled.
Lawmakers have been unable to come to agreement on the size of dividend that should be paid this year. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon says he expects a future special session on the dividend.
The current special session expires Friday. The dividend and capital budget are the remaining unresolved items.
Legislative leaders say they are committed to paying residents an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend this year, even if this special session ends without agreement on the amount.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon says the expectation is for a future special session on the dividend. The current special session expires Friday.
The permanent fund is a sort of nest egg, seeded with oil money and grown through investments. Lawmakers last year started using fund earnings, traditionally used to pay dividends, to help pay for government expenses.
The director of the state Permanent Fund Dividend Division says officials there will need to request funds for checks from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. by early September.
The Legislature has approved creating a working group as it struggles with possible revisions to the dividend formula.