Legislature adjourns 1st special session, no agreement on PFD or capital budget
Lawmakers have adjourned the first special session without resolving the size of this fall’s Permanent Fund dividend nor do they have an agreement on a capital budget.
Those aligned with Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s position calling for a payout reflecting the nearly 40-year statute — an estimated $3,000 — believe that law should be followed, having already been ignored for the last three years with reduced checks.
Others contend the state can no longer afford those high dividends in an environment of chronically low oil prices and flat oil production while trying to maintain essential state services such as public safety and education.
The House and Senate established an eight-person task force, four from each chamber, to draft some policy recommendations by no later than July 2.
The stated mission isn’t arriving at the size of a dividend, but what changes, if any, to the 40-year-old formula should be made and should they be statutory or constitutional.
The House and Senate must also work out some differences on a $1.4 billion capital budget, covering mostly road and construction projects.
The House looked to use a savings account called the Constitutional Budget Reserve, but it would not get the necessary three-quarter support needed.
Adjournment comes on the 29th day of the 30-day session and the 150th legislative day this year.
Gov. Dunleavy has said he would call lawmakers back to work, possibly in Wasilla.
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