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Thu Jun 15, 2017, 04:52 AM

Budget standoff continues as House votes to double Permanent Fund dividends

JUNEAU The two sides in the Alaska Legislature's budget standoff appeared to draw no closer to a compromise Wednesday in spite of an approaching deadline, with the only major development a vote to spend an extra $700 million in the face of the state's massive deficit.

The House passed a modified capital budget with a surprise, bipartisan amendment to inflate Permanent Fund dividends to more than $2,000 this year, nearly double what they had been prior to Wednesday. But the vote may have the effect of prolonging budget negotiations in the face of a government shutdown rather than actually fattening Alaskans' wallets.

The move drew quick condemnation from leaders of the Republican-led Senate, who said the vote was a distraction and called on the largely-Democratic House majority to finish negotiating an operating budget to avert a shutdown at the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.

Legislative leaders from both chambers have also been pushing to finish their business before the end of the special session Friday though a timely finish appeared to grow increasingly remote Wednesday.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/alaska-legislature/2017/06/14/in-surprise-move-alaska-house-votes-to-double-pfds-to-more-than-2000/

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