The bill would draw $1.1 billion from the state’s main savings account, the Constitutional Budget Reserve — mostly because of the recent collapse in oil prices. That means the state’s savings will be near the minimum it needs to pay the bills.
In a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the lawmakers recognized that the order would “undoubtedly cause hardship for some Alaskans,” but that they believe Alaskans are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to keep their communities safe.
Alaska’s Legislature has been working to finish the state budget and pass bills in response to the coronavirus, and lawmakers could leave Juneau as soon as Friday.
Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh said if Dunleavy could be recalled for failing to appoint a judge in 45 days, then any governor could be recalled for violating any law. Justice Craig Stowers pushed back.
Experts say COVID-19’s relatively late arrival in Alaska, combined with its isolation, could give the state an advantage over areas that had less time to prepare.
On Wednesday, the Alaska Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the lawsuit over the legality of the recall election effort against Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Shower proposed the payment as an amendment to the budget bill. Senators intend for the payments to be made immediately after the bill passes.
Legislators who represent the bulk of Alaska’s villages are asking the state’s congressional delegation to try to extend the deadline for Alaskans to get REAL ID-compliant identification.
Analysts project that if the Legislature were to combine the dividend with COVID-19 relief, the state would have to make the first unplanned draw from permanent fund earnings.
The state wouldn’t have enough money in the Constitutional Budget Reserve to pay the roughly $3,000 PFD using the formula in state law.