Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Legislature this evening passed the state’s capital and operating budgets, House Bill 205, with a 23-13 vote, and funded the bill with a supermajority vote of 30-6.
The budget provides funding that will allow the State of Alaska to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis, ensures that essential services will continue operating uninterrupted in the upcoming fiscal year, and funds a $1,000 Permanent Fund Dividend this fall.
“Alaskans take care of Alaskans,” House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham) said. “That’s never been truer than during the COVID-19 crisis, and we saw another example today as we set aside our differences and worked together as a unified Legislature to pass a budget in record time and ensure that essential services will continue without interruption.”
HB 205 contains several items related to COVID-19 response efforts, including: $75 million for the Department of Health and Social Services, $5 million for the Disaster Relief Fund, $5 million for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and $2.7 million for the public health services provided by the Municipality of Anchorage.
“Today was a victory for Alaska’s first responders and frontline healthcare workers who now have additional tools to keep our people safe and healthy,” House Finance Co-Chair Neal Foster (D-Nome) said.
“I’m proud of the thorough, hard work that was done to craft a budget amid a rapidly evolving public health and economic crisis,” added House Finance Co-Chair Jennifer Johnston (R-Anchorage). “Because of today’s vote, the workers who keep our state running – doctors and nurses, firefighters and troopers – will be able to keep doing their jobs without the risk of interruption due to a lack of funding.”
Overall, HB 205 approves spending $4.54 billion of unrestricted general fund and includes funding of $151 million for the Alaska State Troopers and $14 million for the Village Public Safety Officer program, $98 million for Pioneer Homes and $21 million for Senior Benefits, $1 billion to inflation proof the Permanent Fund so the fund won’t lose value over time, and a $1,000 dividend for eligible Alaskans.
HB 205 also passed the Senate this evening, 13-4, and now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.