Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a budget bill Thursday to provide for a $2,350 Permanent Fund Dividend and fully fund Alaska’s student scholarship programs.
Following the release of the legislative Fiscal Policy Working Group’s report, and conversations between the Dunleavy administration and legislative leadership about their interest in working toward a long-term fiscal solution this session, the governor took action to amend the call of the third legislative special session by including this funding vehicle.
Some in the Legislature had threatened to walk out of the special session unless there was an appropriation bill.
The budget bill includes appropriations to help the legislature finalize a structured fiscal solution for Alaska, provide Alaskans with an equitable distribution of the state’s resource wealth, and fully fund student scholarship programs:
- $1.53 billion for the payment of the 2021 PFD, providing an estimated $2,350 per eligible Alaskan
- $11.7 million to Alaska Performance Scholarship Awards
- $6.4 million to Alaska Education Grants
- $3.3 million to WWAMI Medical Education
- $1.47 billion one-time transfer from the earnings reserve account to the constitutional budget reserve
The state’s scholarship programs and the Power Cost Equalization Endowment Fund were two components of the budget process that failed to pass the legislature earlier this year.
Governor thanks Fiscal Policy Working Group
Earlier this week, the legislative Fiscal Policy Working Group released their report, which dentified several solutions including: constitutionally protecting the Permanent Fund Dividend, allocating 50% of the annual Permanent Fund earnings draw to pay dividends, establishing an enforceable government spending limit, and leveraging a small portion of the Permanent Fund’s earnings windfall as one-time bridge funding to implement a comprehensive fiscal solution.
“I want to thank the Fiscal Policy Working Group for their dedication and hard work over the past six weeks. They had a difficult assignment and a very compressed timeline in which to work. I’m impressed with the thoughtful solutions the members have put forward for legislative consideration and it provides an excellent launching point for this special session,” said Gov. Dunleavy. “In my meeting with the four legislative caucus leaders yesterday, everyone agreed that we must take action this session to resolve these issues for the long-term.”
The governor’s budget bill is a at this link.