Walker permanent fund plan gets first hearing

  • By BECKY BOHRER
  • Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:50am
  • NewsBusiness

JUNEAU — The chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee said Tuesday that he wants to vet several ideas surrounding the use of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings.

Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, said that could include a constitutional amendment to allow voters to weigh in on the matter. So far, such a measure has not been introduced.

Stoltze said he wants to be able to have different bills and ideas ready to send to the Senate Finance Committee for additional review.

Stoltze’s committee held its first hearing Tuesday on Gov. Bill Walker’s plan to use the permanent fund as an endowment of sorts, fed by oil tax revenue and a portion of royalties. Earnings from the fund, bolstered by a transfer from savings, would help pay for state government, moving the state away from budgeting around volatile oil revenue.

The plan would change how the annual dividends most Alaskans receive are calculated, basing them on a portion of royalties rather than on the performance of the fund.

This year would be a transitional year for the dividend, and Walker’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year calls for oil-tax revenue and the bulk of royalties to go into the earnings reserve.

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