Alaska Permanent Fund

The Alaska House passed a budget Tuesday night, 21-18, with a Senate vote expected to quickly follow to avoid a government shutdown.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy will need to sign the fiscal 2022 state spending plan before July 1 to continue funding state services.

However, key procedural votes failed, effectively ending several well-regarded programs, including the rural power subsidy program, several construction projects and a popular state-funded college scholarship program for Alaska high school seniors. 

Without passage, the Permanent Fund dividend was reduced from $1,100 to $525. 

The dividend is partially funded from a state savings account and not the Permanent Fund. The House vote against spending the savings reduced the dividend.

Lawmakers will have a chance to revote this week or during a second special session scheduled for August. The first special session ends Friday.

At issue was funding from savings accounts that required a three-quarters vote in the House to pass. The vote failed, 24-15, with one member absent. 

Voting for passage were Republican Reps. Bart LeBon and Steve Thompson of Fairbanks and Mike Cronk of Tok. 

There also were disagreements among lawmakers on the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund dividend.

Some GOP lawmakers wanted to increase the $1,100 amount, while opponents maintained that increasing the dividend violated spending limits imposed on the Alaska Permanent Fund to ensure its sustainability into the future.

The fund is now valued at $81 billion.

Contact political reporter Linda F. Hersey at 459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.