Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, signs the conference committee report on Senate Bill 26 on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (James Brooks

Alaska Legislature passes landmark bill spending Permanent Fund

In a pair of landmark votes Tuesday, the Alaska Legislature agreed to harness the Alaska Permanent Fund to the needs of state government.

In separate actions, the Alaska House and Alaska Senate approved a compromise version of Senate Bill 26, a measure that allows the Legislature to spend up to 5.25 percent of the fund’s average five-year value.

That average drops to 5 percent in 2021.

This year, that will amount to $2.7 billion transferred from the Permanent Fund: $1.7 billion to partially offset the state’s $2.4 billion deficit, and $1 billion for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.

Some lawmakers hailed the bill as a grand compromise fulfilling the 40-year vision of former Gov. Jay Hammond, who said his vision for the Permanent Fund was to “transform oil wells pumping oil for a finite period into money wells pumping money for infinity.”

“I think we’ve done an incredible amount to close almost 80 percent of Alaska’s budget (deficit) should both bodies agree to the bill,” said Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River and the lead Senate negotiator on the bill.

Others lambasted the measure for failing to adequately protect the dividend and for lacking the binding power to do what its text says it will do.

“I think this is the beginning of the end of the Permanent Fund Dividend,” said Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks.

In either case, SB 26 now goes to Gov. Bill Walker.

Read the rest of this Juneau Empire story by clicking here.

Juneau Empire)

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, watches as the votes are tallied for Senate Bill 26 on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Daniel McDonald

More in News

Dollynda Phelps discusses current issues in the cannabis industry with local business owners on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Cannabis industry meeting raises concerns over Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office

Cannabis cultivators, retailers and consumers squeezed into a small Kenai living room… Continue reading

The wall of the Red Chris tailings pond is a little less than 350 feet, or about the height of a 35-story building. It follows the same design as the Mount Polley tailings dam, which broke in 2014, sending 24 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings into the Fraser River watershed. It is designed, however, to hold 305 million cubic meters of mine waste — seven times more than Mount Polley. Both mines are owned by Imperial Metals. (Courtesy Photo | Garth Lenz via Salmon State)
Transboundary mine faces $200-million cash crunch

With a strike, falling copper prices and more than $554-million ($723 million… Continue reading

Niko Mogar is shown in a June 2018 booking photo. (Photo provided, Homer Police)
Police arrest Homer area thief on new counts

A man charged last month with burglary and vehicle theft faces new… Continue reading

Homer area residents listen to the Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Residents talk Kachemak Selo school at assembly

While no major action was taken at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly… Continue reading

Ken Castner III answers a question at a city council and mayoral candidate forum Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at Alice’s Champagne Palace in Homer, Alaska. Castner is running for Homer mayor. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Castner running for mayor to promote unity

Although Ken Castner has served on numerous city commissions, committees and task… Continue reading

Homer area school announcements

Homer High School Friday — Homecoming football game against Seward High School… Continue reading

David Lewis, a former member of the Homer City Council, makes his final remarks during his last meeting as a council member Monday, Oct. 9, 2017 in Cowles Council Chambers in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Lewis takes second try at Homer mayor

Veteran Homer City Council member David Lewis will take another run for… Continue reading

Borough elections 2018: What you need to know

In between the August primary election and the November general election, Homer… Continue reading

Supreme Court finds Griswold due process rights violated

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a comment from… Continue reading

Most Read