Sen. Natasha Von Imhof, R-Anchorage, pictured here on Feb. 18, asks why adult preventative care was targeted for elimination, saying she has heard from providers that this service often will bring people into a clinic where they can be asked if they have other medical needs. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)                                Sen. Natasha Von Imhof, R-Anchorage, pictured here on Feb. 18, 2019, asks why adult preventative care was targeted for elimination, saying she has heard from providers that this service often will bring people into a clinic where they can be asked if they have other medical needs. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Sen. Natasha Von Imhof, R-Anchorage, pictured here on Feb. 18, asks why adult preventative care was targeted for elimination, saying she has heard from providers that this service often will bring people into a clinic where they can be asked if they have other medical needs. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File) Sen. Natasha Von Imhof, R-Anchorage, pictured here on Feb. 18, 2019, asks why adult preventative care was targeted for elimination, saying she has heard from providers that this service often will bring people into a clinic where they can be asked if they have other medical needs. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Bills look at PFD’s future, spending cap for Legislature

Finance Committee unveils legislation on limiting state spending

The Senate Finance Committee introduced two bills Friday that would cap government spending and establish a 50-50 split between dividends and state expenses from the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund.

Senate Bill 103 splits revenue from the state’s annual draw of the Permanent Fund’s earnings reserve equally between dividends and state expenses. This bill follows in the footsteps of Senate Bill 26, which passed into law last year.

SB 26 limited the amount the Legislature can pull from the Permanent Fund’s earnings reserve to prevent the government from taking too much from the fund. That bill did not clear up how much of that draw (which is 5.25 percent of the fund’s market value) could go to expenses and how much goes to dividends.

SB 103 seeks to clarify how much of that 5.25 percent can go to state services and how much can go to dividends, so that future dividends are more consistent.

“The Senate is committed to protecting the Permanent Fund and dividends for future generations of Alaskans,” said Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, in a press release. “SB 103 creates a revenue limit for government and ensures the dividend program survives by protecting it from being consumed by the operating budget. It draws a line in the sand beyond which the state cannot cross over and take from the dividend.”

[Alaskans weigh cost of protecting PFDs]

Under a 50-50 split, eligible Alaskans would receive approximately $2,340 in their PFD, according to a presentation to the Senate Finance Committee last week.

One of the main themes heard around the Capitol this session is that these budgets and proposals are serving as starting points rather than the final word on the issue. Sen. Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, characterized SB 103 in the same way.

“SB 103 is a conversation starter,” Von Imhof said in a release from the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Bill 104, which was also introduced Friday, would cap government spending at $5 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

“A spending cap gives the Legislature the discipline it needs to keep state spending at a reasonable level from one year to the next,” Von Imhof said in the release.

SB 103 and SB 104 were referred to the Senate Finance Committee where a hearing is scheduled for both bills on Wednesday, April 10.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 26

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

For Thursday, Feb. 29 Assault At 5:49 p.m. on Thursday, a 17-year-old… Continue reading

The Alaska Supreme Court is seen on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Supreme Court decides key question: Who is an Alaskan?

An Alaskan is someone physically present in the state who intends to… Continue reading

Pink salmon are seen in an undated photo. (NOAA Fisheries photo)
New salmon study adds to evidence that pink salmon could be crowding out sockeye

A new analysis of nearly 25,000 fish scales offers more evidence that… Continue reading

Liana Wallace offers a water blessing during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool on Friday following nearly a year of renovations. The pool is scheduled to reopen for public use on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ribbon-cutting for Augustus G. Brown Swimming Pool a blessing for longtime users after 11-month renovation

Infrastructure upgrades, new locker rooms and student tile art in lobby greet visitors at ceremony.

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau is seen on Friday, Feb. 23. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Legislature plans March 12 vote on Gov. Dunleavy’s executive orders

Order giving governor full control of Alaska Marine Highway Operations board among six scheduled.

Brenda Josephson, a Haines resident, testifies in favor of a bill setting statewide standards for municipal property assessors during a state Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee hearing Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Statewide standards for municipal property assessments sought in bill by Juneau lawmaker

Some residents say legislation doesn’t go far enough, want limits on annual valuation increases.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 26, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of March 2

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks Thursday, April 27, 2023, at a news conference in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House considers constitutional guarantee for Permanent Fund dividend

The Alaska House of Representatives will vote as soon as Friday morning… Continue reading

Most Read