ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Latest on the Alaska governor’s decision for funding yearly oil checks given to residents (all times local):
The Alaska governor has cut funding in half for oil checks given to every resident but kept enough money in place so everyone will still get a $1,000 payout amid the budget deficit.
Gov. Bill Walker announced Wednesday that Alaskans will receive the limited checks this year after he cut $665 million appropriated by lawmakers. He had said all options were on the table when it came to the $1.4 billion oil check fund appropriation.
Alaska’s government relies mostly on revenue from oil production to stay solvent. But declining production and a precipitous drop in oil prices have plagued the state, leaving it with a deficit of more than $3 billion for the next budget year.
Last year, Alaskans received a record $2,072 check.
Walker told reporters that the program will disappear if changes aren’t made and urged lawmakers to find a solution during a special session starting July 11.
As Alaska faces a multibillion dollar budget deficit, the oil fund wealth checks distributed yearly to nearly every Alaskan could be on the chopping block.
It could mean the first time in more than 30 years that most Alaskans won’t get a check from the government just for living in the state.
Gov. Bill Walker will announce budget vetoes Wednesday morning. But the Juneau Empire reported earlier this month that he said all options are on the table when asked if he would veto all or part of the $1.4 billion oil check fund appropriation sent to him in the budget by lawmakers.
Alaska state government relies mostly on revenue from oil production to stay solvent. But declining production and a precipitous drop in oil prices have plagued state government, leaving Alaska with a deficit of more than $3 billion for the next budget year.
Walker has proposed several measures to help bridge the gap, including tapping into the oil wealth fund and starting a state income tax for the first time in decades.