Alaska House hears presentation on complete fiscal plan, providing for growing dividends and essential services

ANCHORAGE — The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing today on legislation that would solve the state’s structural budget deficit while also keeping the state on track to permanently provide healthy dividends to Alaskans.

 

The plan includes two bills sponsored by House Ways and Means, which in conjunction with HB 189 and HB 104 would balance the budget by Fiscal Year 2024. 

 

HB 3008 commits one-quarter of the yearly draw from the Permanent Fund to dividends with the remainder going to pay for troopers, teachers, transportation, and every other essential service the state provides. It would produce sustainable, predictable dividend amounts that start at $1,248 in 2022 and grow from there. It would complement constitutional protections for the Permanent Fund and dividends. 

 

HB 3007 is aimed at preserving the overall current oil tax structure while making a modest change to the per barrel oil tax credit, generating modest amounts of additional revenue to balance the budget.

 

“The proposals discussed today offered proof that we can afford to pay healthy dividends and provide for the services that underpin our economy and communities, while still achieving a balanced budget and fiscal certainty for our state,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage). “By passing a transparent, balanced plan, we can offer the fiscal certainty needed to build our economy, provide new job opportunities, and grow and protect the Permanent Fund and dividends for generations to come. This proposal is a starting point for negotiations. I welcome revenue proposals from both the Governor and other members of the legislature interested in funding larger dividends while preserving essential services.”

 

The House Ways and Means Committee will continue work toward a comprehensive fiscal plan, with the next hearing including a presentation from the director of the Legislative Finance Division on potential opportunities to reduce the budget through efficiencies. That meeting will be streamed live tomorrow, September 10th at 10:00 am, on akleg.gov.