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The Alaska Senate Finance Committee approved amendments boosting this year’s Permanent Fund dividend to about $3,000 and transferring $12 billion from the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve Account into the fund’s constitutionally protected corpus. The Permanent Fund Earning Reserve Account currently has more than $18.6 billion.
“We must take effective action to protect the Permanent Fund,” said Sen. Bert Stedman, who co-chairs of Senate Finance Committee. “Today’s proposals recommend paying the full, statutory dividend amount this year, locking up $12 billion into a vault and throwing the keys away.”
Including a $3,000 dividend in the Senate’s version of the budget creates the possibility for a House and Senate conference committee to negotiate up to the full, statutory dividend amount. Gov. Michael Dunleavy has said the state must return to the statutorily defined Permanent Fund dividend to avoid the mistakes of the past, which made the dividend a political football.