Alaska lawmakers face end of session, with budget unresolved
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska lawmakers faced the end of the regular legislative session Wednesday, with a state spending package – and the size of this year’s check to residents from Alaska’s oil-wealth fund – yet to be resolved.
House and Senate negotiators reached a tentative agreement Tuesday that would pay residents more than $3,000, but the final amount would depend on whether the Legislature can muster the votes needed to access a key savings account.
The agreement must still be taken up by the House and Senate.
Wednesday marked the constitutional meeting limit of 121 days, though the constitution provides an option to extend up to 10 days. Senate President Peter Micciche said Wednesday morning that “at this point, we’re certainly treating (this) as though it’s the last day.”
The tentative agreement calls for a dividend from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings in the range of $2,500 this year, plus a $1,300 “energy relief” check. Half the funding for the energy check would come from a budget reserve account that requires three-fourths support in each the House and Senate to access.
Payments to residents could be around $3,200 or they could be around $3,850 depending on whether the vote threshold is reached, according to estimates.