Will House meet Saturday to vote on budget?

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After days of unexplained delays and heightening tension in the Capitol, the Alaska House of Representatives is scheduled to convene at 10 am on Saturday to vote on whether to accept or reject the Senate’s version of the state operating budget, which has $5,500 in Permanent Fund and energy relief payments for Alaskans.

House Speaker Louise Stutes has lost control of her binding caucus, as members peeled off to vote in favor of the overdue payment. Alaskans haven’t had a legal Permanent Fund dividend amount since former Gov. Bill Walker took half of their dividends in 2016. Alaska oil was trading at over $112 a barrel on Friday.

If the budget with the full PFD is rejected, a group of six lawmakers (three appointed by House Speaker, three by Senate President) will make the decision about what stays and what goes, as they sort out the differences between the two legislative bodies. It’s well accepted that conference committee members will strip the full PFD, if given the power to do so.

The Legislature by law must gavel out by May 18. If it doesn’t complete its work, it would need to go into special session. Meanwhile, special interest groups have begun to swarm the Capitol with messages to oppose the full Permanent Fund dividend. The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Bankers Association, Alaska General Contractors, Anchorage Economic Development Corp. and others have been sending letters to lawmakers letters opposing the full PFD.

Mike Porcaro on his afternoon radio show on KENI said if business interests oppose the full dividend, then next time oil companies want the public’s allegiance to fight increases in oil taxes, they shouldn’t bother to ask for that help, as Alaskans will remember this day.

Meanwhile, the calendar for non-budget items keeps growing in the House, as legislation backs up:

14 COMMENTS

  1. You know, this money belongs to the people of Alaska, not the legislature. They surely act like they own it though, don’t they? It is time for ALASKANS to stand up and let the legislature know what they think. Pray for Our Country, Sally D

  2. Yeah, they don’t want to give us our statutory PFD, but look at the expenditures in HB226 and HB416… pay raises for State attorneys and “non-union” public employees. I’d much rather they faced layoffs than murder and steal our PFD.

    • There is law prescribing the distribution of The Permanent Fund Dividend.
      The legislature feels free to ignore that law.
      Why, then, are we Alaskans observing speed limits?
      Why are we not robbing banks at will?
      Why are people soiling the sidewalks?

      Do our legislators not see what they are showing us is just peachy-keen to do at will?

      Or do they see but just don’t care.

      November is coming. Use it wisely.

  3. Everyone says citizens need to be involved well here is a citizen asking for some oath integrity some Alaskans need some help here a full dividend and some extra could go a long long way for some here. We deserve our full dividend checks I believe and we deserve our oath takers to be of integrity for what is right for the citizens. Oath integrity for the sake of the oath duty so help me GOD you all swore for me the citizens. Please shock us all here oath takers. Thank you Suzanne

  4. One must wonder why the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Bankers Association, Alaska General Contractors, Anchorage Economic Development Corp. and others have been sending letters to lawmaker’s letters opposing the full PFD, when all should see a seemingly beneficial outcome regarding said flush of income by the general populace.

    More money for commerce, more money in the bank, more money for contractors, and more money for development, all spent, or saved, by the general populace that receives said funds.

    Why would said entities fight against what should be to their benefit based upon their supposed goal based upon their name or title?

    It seems a bit counterintuitive to me, but hey, what do I know?

    I am only a citizen.

    • Randy, I’d guess it’s the control over how the money gets spent. With that observation, aren’t they admitting the control they have over our legislative bodies? Call and write your legislators.

  5. Rep. Andi Story just emailed us that she is not for the Senate Pfd allocation. These reps not wanting to help us Alaskans out after a literal wipeout by the Covid ordeal are VERY hypocritical. Their version of the budget expands spending by 1.5 billion (Andi’s own email said this) but she’s afraid a PFD allocation would be excessive. And she says, what if the price of oil goes down? Well if it does, where is she going to get the money for such a large budget next year?

    • Andi doesn’t care. While Juneauites were getting destroyed by CBJ Covid restrictions she was dead silent.

      She’s safe. She doesn’t care.

  6. Best guess. Stutes didn’t lose control of her caucus. She’s delaying until they have enough cover to safely squish the PFD.

    Once they have complete control over the PFD, income taxes are next. Then they go after the Perm Fund corpus. Don’t tell me they can’t. The legislature is lawless. They have proven this time and again

  7. Any representative who votes to lower the senate version of the PFD payout risks wearing a huge bullseye on their back.

  8. Lying stealing politicians and the brunt of the people are ok with it. Wake up Alaska the PFD belongs to us not them. If you don’t care let me be on your bank account.

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