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Gov. Mike Dunleavy is calling for a nearly $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend next year, and he's asking the Legislature for state savings to pay for it. The idea doesn't sit well with Senate President Cathy Giessel, who says the move would whittle down what she calls the state's last savings account.
Right now, Alaska's Constitutional Budget Reserve has about $2 billion. The governor's proposal would use three-quarters of it. According to the state constitution, those funds must be replenished later.
"Should we institute an income tax, even a statewide sales tax, for the sole purpose of paying a very large dividend?" Giessel said. "Or, should we modernize, update that calculation that figures out what the dividend is to meet today's needs?"