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The Latest: Alaska governor takes issue with coverage

August 20, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska oil-wealth fund dividend (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took issue with media coverage in explaining why he announced by video his decision on the state budget and the oil-wealth fund dividend that will be paid to residents.

Dunleavy told reporters Tuesday his administration will continue to make direct appeals to Alaskans.

Dunleavy’s announcement on the budget and dividend was widely anticipated, with questions about whether he would accept the roughly $1,600 dividend approved by lawmakers.

That amount is lower than the roughly $3,000 dividend he has pushed for in line with a longstanding calculation that has not been followed since 2016 and that many lawmakers see as unsustainable.

He accepted the Legislature’s action but said he considered it a partial payment. He says he hopes lawmakers will finish work on what he calls an incomplete dividend.

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10:05 a.m.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy faced a tricky political decision.

He had to decide whether to keep pushing to pay residents a nearly $3,000 check this year from the state’s oil-wealth fund, a centerpiece of his campaign last year, or accept a lesser amount approved by lawmakers not swayed by his arguments.

Facing a vibrant recall effort, the Republican Dunleavy opted for a mix, accepting the lesser amount of about $1,600 but indicating plans for another special session focused on paying what he sees as the remaining balance.

But Dunleavy can’t force lawmakers to do anything they don’t want to do, and some legislative leaders said they couldn’t see agreeing to appropriate additional funds without agreement on changes to the dividend program going forward.

Dunleavy plans to speak to reporters Tuesday.

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