Alaska: Governor Encourages Budget Passage as New Special Session Begins
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June 23, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – With one week remaining in the fiscal year, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today introduced a budget bill representing a path forward to avert a government shutdown as the second special session of 2021 begins. The complete budget utilizes transparent and vetted funding sources to provide for a 50/50 PFD amount, strategic investments in public safety and emergency management, and fully funds K-12 education with an effective date of July 1st.

"The Legislature has been in session for almost half the calendar year, and still there is not a functioning budget to keep our government open," Governor Dunleavy said. "I remain confident lawmakers will make every effort to meet their constitutional duty before the deadline. This second special session gives even more opportunity to work on the differences between all sides before June 30. My administration submitted a budget proposal today that combines elements that have passed either the House, the Senate, or both bodies. Without budgetary gimmicks and complex workarounds, I have every faith the Legislature can accomplish their task in the next week."

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The governor's legislation includes a 50/50 PFD appropriated from the Earnings Reserve Account, the realized gains fund within Alaska's Permanent Fund, differing from a prior iteration of the budget which utilized the Constitutional Budget Reserve as a funding source. Upon passage, this year's PFD amount would total approximately $2,350.

On May 13th, with the constitutional deadline of regular session approaching an progress on the operating budget stalling, Governor Dunleavy issued proclamations calling the Legislature into two 30-day special sessions beginning May 20th and August 2nd.

In the final week of the 1st special session, the Legislature passed a budget that became effective in September at the earliest, which would require a partial government shutdown. Governor Dunleavy took immediate action, calling the Legislature into a special session beginning today, June 23rd, with the single item on the call being an effective operating budget beginning July 1st. If a budget does not take effect by July 1st, a government shutdown will begin and state workers who are not engaged in providing critical public health and safety services will be laid off, and many services to the public will be suspended.

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