Committee compromises on PFD in budget plan

For the second day working, the six-member bicameral convention committee continued negotiations on the state’s price range and Tuesday afternoon got here to an settlement on an quantity for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

Members of the convention committee agreed Tuesday to an modification to the price range that will pay about $2,500 for this yr’s dividend, with a further $1,300 vitality aid cost for a complete of about $3,800.

The Senate appropriated $5,500, a mixture of a statutory dividend of $4,200 and an vitality aid examine of $1,300, however a number of lawmakers referred to as that quantity irresponsible and a concurrence vote failed within the House of Representatives.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, a member of the convention committee who voted for the total dividend stated he was supporting the decrease quantity within the spirit of compromise.

“I know many Alaskans would like to see a full PFD,” Wielechowski stated. “This is 90% of a full PFD.”

Committee members additionally cut up the fund sources for these two funds, with the dividend coming from the state’s basic fund and half the $1,300 cost coming from the Constitutional Budget Reserve. In order to entry the CBR, lawmakers want a three-quarter vote in each our bodies, which isn’t a assure, notably within the deeply divided House the place the bulk coalition has solely 21 members.

The committee agreed to a lot of the Senate’s appropriations within the capital price range and moved shortly via a whole lot of price range objects. The committee authorised a number of appropriations that solely go into impact if associated laws is handed. The committee agreed to the Senate’s proposal so as to add $394 million to the state’s Higher Education Investment Fund, if House Bill 322, establishing the fund by itself, is handed.

The finish of the legislative session is Wednesday, May 18, and each our bodies of the Legislature should approve the committee adjustments if the price range is to be adopted. Only a easy majority vote in every physique is required to go a convention committee price range.

The convention committee finalized the price range course of shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, sending the invoice to the Division of Legislative Finance and Legislative Legal Services for evaluate and any technical adjustments. Once that course of is full, lawmakers will vote to maneuver the invoice which should then wait for twenty-four hours.

“We’ll be here until midnight, maybe later,” Stedman advised reporters following the committee assembly. “Tomorrow midnight is the deadline. We have to pass a budget by midnight tomorrow, if it’s not passed we’ll have a special session, be here in June.”

Contact reporter Peter Segall at Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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