Gov. Dunleavy proposes doing away with public assistance payouts

    Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy is proposing elimination of the $17.7 million "hold-harmless" provision. (Photo by Greg Knight)

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - Governor Michael J. Dunleavy has proposed doing away with Alaska's practice of providing payments so people don't lose food stamps and other benefits after Permanent Fund dividends arrive.

    The Anchorage Daily News reports some lawmakers are criticizing the move, calling it a direct hit to rural and underprivileged residents.

    The proposed $17.7 million elimination of the so-called hold-harmless provision, requiring a change in law, would end the state support that prevents many Alaska residents from exceeding income limits for welfare programs when the state distributes the oil-wealth checks each October.

    Office of Management and Budget Chief Budget Analyst Neil Steininger says state officials are in the process of drafting legislation that would eliminate the hold-harmless provision.

    The plan is part of Dunleavy's proposal to close a $1.6 billion budget deficit.

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