The Senate Finance Committee will hear two bills this week that would consider a new formula for the Permanent Fund dividend and creating a spending camp for future budgets.

Senate Bills 103 and 104 were introduced by the Senate Friday morning and will get their first hearings Wednesday.

SB 103 offers to split earnings reserve money drawn for government services and the dividend. A new law passed last year allows the Legislature to use a certain percentage of the Permanent Fund’s earnings to cover these costs, but does not specify how much should be used for each one.

The bill considers an even split between dividends and services but that’s just a starting point, according to committee co-chairs Sens. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, and Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage.

SB 104 creates a spending cap for the operating budget at $5 billion with some exceptions: putting money in the principal of the Permanent Fund; debt payments; disaster declaration appropriations; and deposits to savings accounts.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing constitutional amendments that would enshrine the Permanent Fund dividend and create a spending cap.

“Constitutional amendments are very difficult to get,” Stedman said. “This is a statutory bill. I think we can get it across the finish line easier, and if there is strong support for it, we can always try to put something in the constitution later on.”

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