The plan scrapes together funding from the general fund, the statutory budget reserve and, critically, from the constitutional budget reserve to pay a $1,100 dividend, but comes with plenty of strings attached that are aimed at forcing on-the-fence legislators to support a bevy of actions on the budget.
While Dunleavy has pitched a big dividend without bothering to answer the question of “What’s next,” legislators are looking at other more modest dividend proposals that would bring finality to the budget process.
Who really believes oil and investment income will suddenly smooth out into a dependable upward climb? If so, I’ve got a pipeline, a bridge and a dam to sell you.
The dividend and the overdraw, however, are far from final because the operating budget is already headed to negotiations with the House where it could change dramatically.
The budget bill emerges from the House without a PFD, with several minority Republican-backed amendments that include one attempting to ban public funding for abortions and one big problem in light of the federal government’s new guidance on how the more than $1 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act can be spent.
It’s making the Senate’s long floor session on the disaster declaration look quaint.
The legislation is based off the existing base student allocation funding formula, meaning funding will stay the same on a per-student basis.
It’d keep funding at status quo levels but provide some stability to teachers and districts.
The decisions regarding the money will be a welcome change of pace.
Without help, coronavirus could leave long-term scars on Alaska’s economy.