Alaska legislature passes operating budget for fiscal year 2019

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Alaska legislature has passed an operating budget for fiscal year 2019.

The budget will use permanent fund earnings to fund state operations, the first time that's occurred in the permanent fund's 40-plus-year history.

A permanent fund dividend of $1,600 will be paid to eligible Alaskans in 2018.

The operating budget increases funding for education and public safety. Rep. Jason Grenn, (I) - Anchorage, described those provisions include more money for prosecutors and public defenders.

The Alaska State Troopers will also be able to hire additional Troopers, said Grenn.

The budget was passed before the 121 day deadline imposed by the constitution, meaning there will be no interruption in essential state services.

The operating budget squeaked through the Alaska House of Representatives with a razor thin majority of 21-19. The Alaska State Senate passed the compromise by a vote of 15-4.

The legislature is expected to gavel out of session Saturday evening, after passing a capital budget, said Grenn.