House Majority Removes PFD Funding from PFD Bill, Adds $280 Million to Budget
Wednesday evening, on a 21-to-10 caucus-line vote, the Alaska House Majority passed an amended version of HB 2001, adding more than $280 million in government spending to a bill that was originally written to authorize funding for the Permanent Fund Dividend. The PFD provisions were stripped out and replaced with language intended to reverse the governor’s vetoes.
“This bill really was not a good-faith compromise, as was claimed by some of our colleagues today,” said Rep. Lance Pruitt (R-Anchorage), House Minority Leader. “Our caucus came to the table to negotiate an outcome that would survive the remainder of the budgeting process, but it has become increasingly evident that our Majority colleagues are more interested in prolonging this impasse than actually finding solutions and going home.”
“This bill, like the others introduced this special session, started out clean and simple, but was hijacked to fit an unreasonable agenda,” added Rep. DeLena Johnson (R-Palmer). “Passing a bill like this – with no PFD at all – any man, woman, or child can predict what the outcome will be. If we continue down this path, we’ll soon be in a third special session with no end in sight.”
“Our caucus’ House Finance team worked diligently to bring compromise options to the table, to find some wiggle room that would ease Alaskans’ concerns, and still deliver on our obligation to authorize the Permanent Fund Dividend,” added Rep. Cathy Tilton (R-Chugiak/Mat-Su), Republican Finance Leader. “Our efforts to find common ground continue to be cast aside.”
The House Republicans introduced a bill today, HB 2004, by Rep. Kelly Merrick (R-Eagle River), that would address the issue of federal match road funding while other issues remain under debate. That bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.