Alaska lawmakers OK key piece of fiscal plan involving PFD

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JUNEAU, Alaska (Associated Press) - The Latest on the extended Alaska legislative session (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Gov. Bill Walker is hailing as landmark legislation calling for limited withdrawals from the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Walker says the bill lays the foundation for Alaska's economy to grow and prosper.

Lawmakers plan to use fund earnings to help fill the state's budget deficit. The annual checks Alaska residents receive from the oil-wealth fund is also paid using Permanent Fund earnings.

The bill does not specify how money would be split among the two needs in future years.

Walker calls the bill a major step toward ensuring that the fund and the dividend program will remain permanent.

Critics, however, say the bill doesn't protect dividends.

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1:40 p.m.

The Alaska Legislature has approved a major piece of a plan to address the state's persistent budget deficit.

It's also one of the last unresolved pieces of the extended legislative session.

The bill calls for limited draws from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings. Money taken out would help pay for state government costs and be used to pay the annual checks residents receive from the oil-wealth fund.

The bill doesn't specify how the money would be divided among the two needs in the future.

The measure passed both the Senate and House Tuesday, after advancing from a conference committee earlier in the day.

Gov. Bill Walker watched the House debate from a gallery in the chamber.

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12:35 p.m.

The Alaska Senate has passed a major piece of a plan to address the state's budget deficit.

The bill calls for limited draws from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings. Money taken out would help pay for state government costs and be used to pay the annual checks residents receive from the oil-wealth fund.

The bill doesn't specify how the money would be divided among the two needs in the future.

Sen. Bill Wielechowski opposed the bill. He says it doesn't protect future dividends.

Sen. Anna MacKinnon said no one wants to reduce Alaskans' dividends, but the state is in unprecedented times.

Lawmakers have proposed for this year a $1,600 dividend, about $1,000 less than if an existing dividend calculation in state law were followed.

The bill still must pass the House.

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10:05 a.m.

Alaska House and Senate negotiators have reached tentative agreement on a major piece of a state fiscal plan.

A conference committee advanced legislation Tuesday calling for limited draws from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings. The money would help pay for state government and pay the annual checks residents receive from the oil-wealth fund.

The bill does not specify how the money would be divided among the two.

The bill keeps in place the existing dividend calculation, but that's no guarantee a full dividend will be paid in the future.

The calculation has been ignored the past two years, and lawmakers this year propose a $1,600 dividend, about $1,000 less than if the calculation were followed.

The permanent fund bill is one of the last unresolved issues in the extended legislative session.



 
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