Governor announces plan for third special session; second special session to address PFD

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTVF) After announcing he will not veto a $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividend, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his plans to hold another special session to increase the PFD to the statutory value for this year.

After announcing he will not veto a $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividend, Governor Mike Dunleavy announced his plans to hold another special session to increase the PFD to the statutory value for this year. (Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor via Facebook)

Earlier today, the governor signed House Bill 2001, which addresses both the PFD and the state's operating budget. For the past few weeks, the governor has been revealing many programs that he originally vetoed funding from earlier in the year, which he did not veto in the new house bill. HB 2001 restored $156 million dollars to this year’s operating budget, including $110.25 million dollars to the University of Alaska System, and $8.8 million dollars to Early Learning Programs.

A press release from the governor's office says Dunleavy vetoed $220 million dollars of funding that was reintroduced by the legislature to HB 2001. Among the funding that was vetoed includes behavioral health treatment and recovery grants, public broadcasting, and forward funding for K-12 education. With these additional vetoes, state spending is decreased by roughly $650 million dollars, or roughly 8%. That removes just over a third of the state's deficit.

In a Facebook video, the Governor announced he is not vetoing the $1,600 PFD. The governor said a veto this late in the year would be a "win for those wanting to eliminate the PFD in its entirety." He expressed if he vetoed the legislature's designated amount, then Alaskans would not receive a PFD this year. Despite signing off on the legislature's value, Governor Dunleavy says the fight over a full statutory payment is not over.

"By funding an incomplete dividend, the legislature understands that their job is not finished," said Dunleavy. "Many in the legislature know that this incomplete dividend must be fixed as soon as possible. I have begun the conversation with legislators to map out a path to appropriate the funds remaining for the full PFD. I anticipate a special session this fall to complete this process."

Dunleavy says with state funding out of the way, it will allow this next special session to just focus on the Permanent Fund Dividend. He is proposing to pay for the PFD from the Earnings Reserve Account. No other details on the proposed special session have been released.

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