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Alaska legislative leaders ask governor to delay Monday’s special session by at least a week

Legislature trying forge a fiscal plan and say they need more time. A PFD is also needed
(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:47 PM AKDT
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JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The leaders of the Alaska Legislature’s majority and minority caucuses have written to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, asking him to delay the upcoming special session by a week or two.

Dunleavy called the upcoming special session in May to resolve debates about the Permanent Fund dividend and to forge a long-term fiscal plan. He introduced his own 50-50 dividend plan, but fiscal experts say new statewide revenues will be needed to pay for it.

The session is set to start on Monday, but the caucus leaders say more time is needed for the Comprehensive Fiscal Plan Working Group to finalize its recommendations. The group was created as part of a deal to pass an effective budget and avert a state government shutdown.

The House majority coalition wants the session delayed until Aug. 9 while the Senate and House Republicans want the session to begin on Aug. 16. Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said Wednesday evening that the letter had just been received and a decision had not been made about the timing of the special session.

When the Legislature does convene, lawmakers will also need to pass a new dividend for 2021 after the governor vetoed the amount approved in June. A vote is also required to fund scholarships for Alaskan college students and to make power cost equalization payments, but that issue is also in court.

The Comprehensive Fiscal Plan Working Group has been meeting since early July to make recommendations to the Legislature for how to forge a fiscal plan. It is set to meet every day through Aug. 2.

Alaskans can provide public testimony on the dividend and the state’s fiscal situation starting on Thursday:

Anchorage – The Anchorage Legislative Information Office from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday.

Wasilla - The Mat-Su Legislative Information Office from 6-9 p.m. on Friday

Fairbanks – The Fairbanks Legislative Information Office from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday.

Juneau - The Alaska State Capitol Senate Finance Committee Room 532 from 6-9 p.m. on Monday

The Alaska House Coalition published telephone numbers for Alaskans who can’t make it in person. They’re asked to call into Monday’s evening session or send an email to fiscal.policy@akleg.gov.

Juneau residents can call 907-586-9085, Anchorage residents can call 907-563-9085, and other Alaskans can call 844-586-9085 on Monday from 6-9 p.m.

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