SENIOR WALK – Sitka High School seniors walk through the halls of Xoots Elementary School wearing their graduation attire this morning as they are congratulated by students. The seniors walked through the halls of both elementary schools and the middle school this morning. Seventy-four seniors will be graduating in the ceremony which begins 7 p.m. tonight in the school gym. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Assembly to Revisit Hiring of Attorney
20 May 2024 15:44

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Assembly members are weighing their next steps in hir [ ... ]

It's a Big Night for Sitka High Seniors
20 May 2024 15:41

Jamison Dunn, Felix Myers, Nai’a Nelson, Kylie Orlando, Benjamin Hedrick, Clarence Joaquin, Dani [ ... ]

Peltola Thanked for Aid to Projects
20 May 2024 15:37

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
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Wolves Sweep Series, Secure State Softball Spot
20 May 2024 15:34

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Sports Editor
    Sitka High swept to victory in a three-game softball  [ ... ]

$92,000 in Grants Awarded By Sitka Charitable Trus...
20 May 2024 15:28

By Sentinel Staff
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Bill Passed to End Use of PFA Pollutant
20 May 2024 15:25

By YERETH ROSEN
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20 May 2024 15:22

SJ Museum Posts List
Of Summer Native Artists The Sheldon Jackson Museum will host several artists t [ ... ]

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20 May 2024 14:38

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Task Force Presents Report on Tourism
17 May 2024 15:56

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17 May 2024 15:55

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Short-Term Rental, Variance Approved
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City Loses Offer for Attorney Job
17 May 2024 15:50

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17 May 2024 15:49

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Julie Hughes 40th Anniversary Triathlon Nears
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Legislature Leaves Some Bills for 2025
17 May 2024 14:34

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17 May 2024 13:23

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By SHANNON HAUGLAND
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Legislature Goes OT, Gets Big Job Done
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Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Stedman Sees End to Budget Impasse

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

The size of this year’s permanent fund dividend could be anywhere “from 0 to $1,100 to $2,300,” says Sitka’s state senator, Bert Stedman.

“Any of those outcomes are possible,” Stedman told the Sentinel today. “The vast majority would like to have a permanent fund dividend – including myself. The issue is the size of the PFD and overdrawing the permanent fund.”

The Republican co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee spoke to the Sentinel as he waited for his flight back to Juneau to continue the third special session called by the governor to address the Permanent Fund.

“Senate Finance is waiting for the House to send the bill but it may be hard to get enough members ... on the committee and the (Senate) body on the floor,” he said.

Stedman said the Legislature voted in favor of a $1,100 dividend but lacked the votes needed to fund more than $525. Gov. Mike Dunleavy favored a “50-50 dividend plan” for a payout of $2,350, and vetoed funding for the $525 payout.

“We’re trying to put together an $1,100 dividend,” Stedman said. “It could go either way (from zero to $2,300). The concern is how we deal with the permanent fund – are we going to overdraw it and spend the earnings reserve (the non-constitutionally protected portion of the permanent fund)? Some people are more sensitive to it than others.”

Those advocating for the $1,100 payout say it’s the maximum the state can afford without overdrawing the earnings reserve.

Stedman said the debate is one that crosses party lines, and there is a diversity of views on both House and Senate sides, and across the state. He had no predictions on the final outcome.

“Zero to $1,100 to $2,300 – it could be any of those, and anywhere in between,” he said.

One of the main obstacles of the session that started earlier this month is the fact that it has gone far beyond the 120 days most legislators had planned on spending in session.

“It depends on who’s going to be there when it comes time to vote,” Stedman said. “One of the compounding difficulties when the Legislature has multiple special sessions, it becomes more difficult to meet, people get tired, they have lives to lead and family issues. It makes it hard to get everybody together. Unfortunately the governor is calling special sessions and the Legislature should have a break.”

Stedman said Dunleavy is about $800 million short if he wants to fund a $2,300 payout, which could mean $800 million in new taxes.

“Someone’s got to pay it ... it’s an $800 million hole to implement the 50-50 plan,” Stedman said. “The math doesn’t work. And (Dunleavy) hasn’t brought forth any tax or budget reductions to fill the gap. We don’t have hundreds of millions in budget reductions because the budget’s been going sideways for years.”

Stedman added that the reductions by cutting the marine highway and the state university were spent by increased costs in the Department of Corrections and pensions for teachers and state workers.

Although there are other unresolved issues – such as writing a new formula for the permanent fund – Stedman said he’s in favor of actions that “get this year’s dividend concluded, and adjourn.”

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20 YEARS AGO

May 2004

Dr. Arthur Cleveland, a former dean at Columbus State University in Georgia, was named the new president of Sheldon Jackson College, SJC officials announced today. He will be replacing C. Carlyle Haaland, who has held the position for four years.


50 YEARS AGO

May 1974

Coaching and managing the Little League teams this year are John Abbott and John Calhoun, ANB; Dale and DeWayne Vilandre, Alaska Federal; Walt Barker, Elks; Frank Simmons and Frank Vilandre, Lions; Leo Bacon, Pat Ness, Cliff Robards and Bob Edenso, Moose; and Everett Webb, Sportsmen. Head umpire is Carl Karpstein.

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