Alaskans are one step closer to getting a Permanent Fund Dividend after the Alaska House of Representatives finalized this year’s budget on Tuesday, according to a news release.
The House passed a bill in a 24-16 vote that includes an $1,100 dividend payment for 2021.
“Today’s outcome provides certainty to Alaskans after the dividend was vetoed earlier this summer that much-needed cash will land in their bank accounts this fall,” said Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) in the news release. “The dividend that found consensus is the most the state can afford to pay until Alaska’s structural budget deficit is resolved, a task we remain committed to taking on in the months ahead.”
The House bill still needs approval of both the Senate and Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy has consistently pushed for his “50/50” plan, which would provide a higher PFD.
Dunleavy had added a proposed $2,250 PFD to the special session agenda by drawing $1.53 billion from the Permanent Fund’s earnings reserve account, according to an Aug. 19 news release from the governor’s office.
The House bill was hammered out as part of the third special session called this year. Dunleavy called lawmakers back to Juneau on Aug. 16 ultimately to address the lack of a PFD in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget that was signed into law June 28.
The House had originally approved a budget with an $1,100 PFD, but failed to secure enough votes to pass a necessary provision finalizing the amount.
Rep. Calvin Schrage (I-Anchorage), who sat on the Fiscal Policy Working Group that hammered out the House deal, said work isn’t finished.
“The job isn’t finished, but today was a step in the right direction that we took care of our most pressing concern — that Alaskans will receive a healthy dividend after it was vetoed earlier this summer,” Schrage said in the news release. “I look forward to the work we have ahead of us to resolve the recommendations of the Fiscal Policy Working Group.”