Votes on Alaska state budget await resolution of legislative talks

The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau hosts budget negotiations on a rainy day, April 15, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)
The Alaska State Capitol in Juneau hosts legislative negotiations on a rainy day on Tuesday. Neither legislative chamber held a session on Monday. While the Senate held a three-minute technical session on Tuesday morning, the House delayed its session through the afternoon. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

The legislative special session is scheduled to end on Friday, and lawmakers have not passed a budget. 

Budget negotiators agreed to a compromise on Sunday. But neither chamber has held a regular floor session through Tuesday afternoon. 

There is still disagreement over the size of the permanent fund dividend, and how to pay for it. 

The compromise budget sets the permanent fund dividend at $1,100. But it would be reduced to $525 if three-quarters of either chamber fails to approve a separate motion after the budget vote. 

Legislators met in private, seeking agreement on the next step. 

The Senate held a three-minute technical session on Tuesday. 

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, asks for a vote on the budget compromise during a brief technical floor session on Tuesday. Senators Robert Myers, R-North Pole, and Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, are behind Wielechowski. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, asks for a vote on the budget compromise during a brief technical floor session on Tuesday. Senators Robert Myers, R-North Pole, and Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, are behind Wielechowski. (Screen capture from Gavel Alaska)

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski objected to the short floor session, noting it had been scheduled as a regular floor session. 

“We have important business to do,” he said. “The session ends in a couple days. We need to vote on this conference committee report.”

The Senate narrowly voted to adjourn today’s floor session. The House had delayed its scheduled floor session Tuesday afternoon. 

State workers are scheduled to receive layoff notices on Thursday if the budget isn’t approved. 

Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

Like what you just read? KTOO news stories are member supported. Support your community news source today. Donate to KTOO.

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications