JUNEAU – Wednesday, on the 121st day of the legislative session, the Alaska Senate approved operating and capital budgets that fund constitutionally mandated services, protect billions in the Permanent Fund’s corpus, and provide critical relief to local communities and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senators also approved approximately a $2,300 Permanent Fund dividend – the largest in Alaska history.
House Bill 69 authorizes $4.43 billion in state unrestricted general funds for the upcoming fiscal year 2022 operating expenses and $274.6 million for next year’s capital budget, which leverages nearly $1.9 billion in federal funds for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
With more than $10 billion in the Permanent Fund’s spendable portion, Senators voted to transfer $4 billion into the fund’s principal account, which cannot be spent without amending the state constitution.
“As we finalize the budgets, we look forward to working with the House and Governor over the summer to finally resolve Alaska’s multi-year fiscal challenge,” said Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna. “With a sustainable fiscal package, our state will attract new investment, grow our economy, and generate good paying jobs for Alaska families.”
“I’d like to congratulate and thank all the Senators for working collectively on holding the operating expenses flat and passing another historic transfer into the Permanent Fund’s protected principal,” said Senator Bert Stedman, R-Southeast Islands, co-chairman of the Senate Finance.
“I appreciate the hard work of all my colleagues in putting this capital budget together.” said Senator Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “While the state still has so many capital needs, we did what we could during this difficult fiscal climate to invest in the future of our state.”
HB 69 passed the Senate by a vote of 17-3. The bill is now on its way back to Alaska House of Representatives for concurrence.