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Sat Dec 17, 2016, 05:10 AM

Alaska Gov. Walker looks again to Permanent Fund for revenue in new budget proposal

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker unveiled a state budget proposal Thursday that sets the stage for another battle with lawmakers over the future of the Permanent Fund.

The $5 billion spending plan assumes that the Legislature will agree to restructure the fund and use some of its earnings to pay for government a step the state House refused to take last year, even with Alaska facing a huge deficit stemming from low oil prices.

Walker's office says his new proposal would shave another $123 million, or 3 percent, in unrestricted general fund spending on agency operations, and it calls for at least two days of furloughs for state workers, who will be asked to make bigger health care payments too. It also shut down work on one of the state's last big megaprojects, the proposed $570 million, 50-mile road leading out of Juneau.

But the budget's overall structure is similar to Walker's proposal last year with a multibillion-dollar budget hole filled largely with earnings from the Permanent Fund, which has traditionally paid Alaskans' dividend checks.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/politics/2016/12/15/alaska-gov-walker-looks-again-to-permanent-fund-for-revenue-in-new-budget-proposal/

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