A joint special legislative working group to propose a “comprehensive fiscal plan” for the state’s budget is on the legislative calendar for Wednesday at 1 pm, in the Anchorage Legislative Office’s Denali Room.
The group was created at the request of the House at the end of the special session in June, and is meant to formulate a plan to pay for government, a proposal that would be considered by the Legislature in the August special session that has been called by the governor to take up remaining budgetary matters, including the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend this year.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed the $525 Permanent Fund dividend appropriated by the Legislature, saying it was an insult to Alaskans, considering Alaska statute says this year’s dividend would be well over $3,000. The law that establishes the formula has been broken since Gov. Bill Walker arbitrarily cut the dividend in half in 2016, and many in Alaska want the law to be followed or changed , but not broken annually.
The Fiscal Year 2022 total budget amounts to $12 billion in all funds, with $4.3 billion in Unrestricted General Funds, and at least $1 billion is from federal Covid-19 relief money.
To compare, total expenditures in fiscal year 2021 were $11.3 billion, but revenues were $10.3 billion, leaving a fiscal gap of $863 million.
Last year, the Percent of Market Value (POMV) draw from the Earnings Reserve Account of the Permanent Fund was $2.4 billion to be used for government. About $680 million was drawn from the ERA for payment of the Permanent Fund dividend to Alaskans. The legal statutory draw for the dividend was $1.2. billion, but legislators cut the dividend for the fourth year after Walker’s 2016 veto of the dividend.
The meeting will be streamed on Gavel Alaska.