Mike Dunleavy

 

Updated 6:50 p.m.: Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a COVID-19 economic response plan Friday afternoon to include the payment of his previously proposed supplemental Alaska Permanent Fund dividend check.

"If Alaskans are unable to work to earn a living and pay their rent, to buy food, to buy diapers for their children, then we have failed to account for the hardships that many Alaskans are currently facing," Dunleavy said. "Immediate and far-reaching economic relief is needed right now."

The Alaska COVID-19 Economic Stabilization Plan would include the payment of the remaining $1,306 that would have been included in last year's dividend check had the Legislature followed a 1982 statute rather than the recently passed Percent of Market Value allocation.

If the Legislature approves the payment, the check would be distributed as soon as April, Dunleavy said. This supplemental payment would be based on 2019 PFD applications, meaning anyone who received a 2019 dividend would also receive this supplemental check.

The governor has also included in his plan the payment of the full statutory 2020 dividend split into two payments of $1,550 in June and again in October. This would need to be approved by the Legislature.

Dunleavy's plan also includes the following:

• Low-interest bridge loans for small businesses affected by COVID-19 shutdowns.

• $1 billion in disaster relief funding, which Dunleavy said will come from existing state accounts. The administration is identifying the sources, which include treasury and enterprise agencies, according to Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner.

• An expansion of unemployment insurance, which the Alaska Legislature is also working on.

• $75 million in funding for health care facilities, additional testing kits, ventilators and other health care supplies, additional medical personnel and protective measures for health care and state workers.

• An executive order directing the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. to suspend all foreclosures and evictions immediately for the next 60 days. Approximately 13,000 Alaskans receive rental assistance through AHFC.

• $2.3 million in student loan interest waivers, dependent on legislative approval.

• $2 million to the State Training Employment Program, dependent on legislative approval.

• Additional funding to replace lost revenue for municipalities associated with COVID-19.

• $518,000 for statewide virtual schools, dependent on legislative approval.

• $3 million for continued school meal programs, dependent on legislative approval.

• $500,000 to assist with distance education during school closures, dependent on legislative approval.

• $1 million to assist with student technological needs associated with digital distance education, dependent on legislative approval.

The aspects of the plan subject to legislative approval will now be transmitted to the House and Senate for consideration.

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.