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The Latest: Alaska Senate votes down full dividend proposal

June 4, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska Legislature (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

The Alaska Senate has rejected a full dividend payout from the state’s oil-wealth fund as part of the debate over this year’s check.

The 10-8 vote came after a divided Senate adopted an amendment calling for a full payout, with checks to qualified residents estimated to be around $3,000. The initial bill proposed $1,600 checks.

The bill needed 11 votes to pass.

Supporters of the revised bill said an existing dividend calculation should be followed, a position Gov. Mike Dunleavy has taken. The existing calculation hasn’t been followed in recent years amid a budget deficit.

But critics said the existing formula is not sustainable and conflicts with a law calling for limited withdrawals from fund earnings for dividends and government costs

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8:20 a.m.

The state Senate is poised to debate legislation seeking to set the size of this year’s Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

Debate over the dividend paid to residents has snarled efforts to finalize a state budget with the start of the new fiscal year weeks away.

The Senate proposal is for a $1,600 dividend, equal to last year’s reduced payout. Checks have been capped the last three years amid an ongoing budget deficit.

Senate Finance Committee Co-chair Bert Stedman said he expected an amendment to be offered calling for a full payout, which estimates suggest would be around $3,000.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday called the proposed $1,600 dividend a nonstarter. He has said the historical dividend calculation should be followed and not changed without a vote of the people.

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