$1,100 PFD proposal passes committee

    Sen. Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican, was one of the lead negotiators on a budget compromise that the House and Senate are expected to vote on this week. (Klas Stolpe / KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Legislative Conference Committee made up of members of both the House and Senate met over the weekend to hash out the state's budget.

    The Senate had gone into the negations with a dividend proposal of $2,300 while the House had no proposed amount.

    An amendment was made to the Senate amount by Sitka State Senator Bert Stedman which provides for an approximate $1,100 dividend.

    The total cost of the dividend is 739 million. 370 million will be from the general fund, 320 million from the statutory budget reserve fund, and 48 million from the constitutional budget reserve fund.

    Nome State Representative Neal Foster made his vote clear soon after the change was proposed saying that " If there was ever a time to pay a full PFD, to me that time is now." He added by saying he supports the full Senate amount. Golovin State Senator Donny Olson stressed the number of Alaskans that are dependent on the money that comes with the dividend. Olson thinks it would be a disservice to the economy of the State of Alaska with a dividend of this amount.

    Fairbanks State Representative Bart LeBon supported the amendment, highlighting that the historical average of the dividend is around $1,100, and said that "this is a reasonable effort to achieve a good PFD amount."

    With a vote of 4-2, the proposed dividend amount was put into the budget proposal.

    However, with the statutory budget reserve being tapped into to contribute to the dividend, it will require a three-fourths vote from the House and Senate for final approval. If a three-fourths vote cannot be reached, then the amount from the reserve account cannot be tapped into and will result in a lower PFD of $525 dollars.

    Governor Mike Dunleavy took to social media to say "Once again the PFD is a political football subject to the whims of politicians." He cited this as proof that the PFD needs to protected within the state's constitution.

    The State House and Senate are set to convene today at 3pm.

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