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Oct 6, 2016

Oct. 6, 2016

Mat-Su Republican introduces bill to double dividend amount

by Joaqlin Estus and The Associated Press

Permanent Fund Dividends of $1,022 started going out to each eligible Alaskan Thursday [Oct. 6] morning.

Mat-Su and Copper River area Sen. Mike Dunleavy Wednesday announced he’s filing a bill to double this year’s dividend to $2,052, the amount legislators appropriated earlier this year.

Gov. Bill Walker in June cut that by half, saying the lower amount is necessary for dividends to continue into the future. Walker had called two special sessions for Legislators to address the state’s $3.5 billion budget shortfall. But Legislators were unable to reach agreement on a plan.

Dunleavy says he’ll ask Legislators for an expedited review of his proposal when they convene in mid-January.

Meanwhile, arguments have been scheduled for next month in a lawsuit filed by three current and former lawmakers to determine whether the governor has the legal authority to veto part of the dividend. State court Judge William Morse generally agreed to a request by the parties involved to speed up the schedule. Arguments are set for Nov. 17 in Anchorage.

State revenues plummeted after the price of oil began dropping in mid-2014.