The state Senate agreed with the House on a roughly $1,600 Permanent Fund dividend in an operating budget it passed late Thursday night, setting up negotiations in coming days with the House to work out their fiscal differences.

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee announced its intent to support a $1,600 dividend.

Some senators pushed for a fully funded dividend during Thursday’s debate, in the wake of a recent House vote for a $2,700 dividend which was walked back days later.

Gov. Bill Walker has said he believes the $1,600 is on the high end of an accepted range but said he would wait for the budget to reach his desk before making a final decision.

Later Thursday night, the House refused to accept the Senate’s budget and named three members to a special committee that will negotiate a final spending plan with the Senate. This is a formality and the first step toward sorting out differences.

On Friday afternoon, the Senate held firm on its budget and named three senators to serve on the conference committee.

Serving on the conference committee will be House Finance Committee co-chairs Paul Seaton (R-Homer) and Neal Foster (D-Nome), plus Rep. Steve Thompson (R-Fairbanks), and Senate Finance Co-Chairs Anna MacKinnon (R-Eagle River) and Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), plus Don Olson (D-Golovin).

The Senate must next formally affirm its budget vote 13-7 budget vote and appoint its own members. Senate President Pete Kelly said Friday he wasn’t sure when that would happen.

The Senate’s version does not include most of the $1.28 billion funding for public education, which is part of a separate bill released by the Senate Finance Committee Friday morning.

Including the education funds, the Senate's budget spends about $4.5 billion.

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