The approved operating budget will now go to the Senate, with less than two weeks left in the 90-day session. Eagle River Representative Dan Saddler, a member of the republican-led minority complained about excessive spending: “Are we reducing the budget? No. Are we even holding steady on the budet? Again, no. And are we increasing the budget and increasing the deficit? Sadly, yes.” Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), referred to the larger dividend, but ultimately cast the final ‘yes’ vote, avoiding a tie. FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享In a vote on Monday, April 2, the State House passed a budget bill to the Senate, after two weeks of debate in a vote of 21 to 19. Governor Bill Walker on Monday released the following statement after the vote: “I commend the House for passing an operating budget that protects the necessary government services Alaskans rely on, and I look forward to working with lawmakers as the budget process now moves into the Senate. All sides agree it is necessary to tap the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund to help pay for government moving forward. It is essential that the first draw from the Permanent Fund in history is structured, sustainable, and protects the future of the dividend program.” Representative Paul Season (R-Homer), said the budget was “historic” because it’s the first to rely on Permanent Fund earnings to pay for state government in addition to paying dividends. The budget totals $11.5 billion dollars, with nearly $5.5 billion for yearly operations, and a dividend capped at $1,600 after a House vote on Friday. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said there wasn’t sufficient support in the Legislature for a full dividend this year.