JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Senate voted Monday for a $1,300 “energy relief” payment in addition to a dividend payment for residents this year.
The energy payment passed 12-7 as an amendment to the state budget package that senators were debating. The budget bill as it came to the floor included a dividend payment of about $2,500 this year for residents. The energy payment would be on top of that.
The total payout to residents under the proposed Senate approach would be in line with what Gov. Mike Dunleavy has advocated for this year. The version of the budget that earlier passed the House included a dividend of about $1,250 and a $1,300 energy payment.
During Senate debate Monday, supporters of an additional energy payment said the state can afford it and that Alaskans are struggling with high energy costs. Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Bert Stedman said the amendment was not fiscally prudent. The cost of the energy payment is estimated at $840 million.
Debate on the package was expected throughout the day.
Differences between the versions of the budget that pass each the House and Senate are typically resolved in a conference committee.
Dividends traditionally are paid using earnings of the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund.