Juneau, Alaska (AP) - House and Senate negotiators have agreed to separate from the budget the dividend paid to Alaskans from the state's oil-wealth fund in an effort to speed the budget's passage.
Disagreement over the dividend had snarled efforts to finalize a state operating budget with the start of the new fiscal year looming on July 1.
House and Senate negotiators completed their work Saturday. The House and Senate still must vote on the plan.
The idea behind untangling the two issues is to deal with the dividend separately. Whether agreement on this year's dividend can be reached by the end of the special session Friday remains to be seen.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said a long-standing dividend calculation should be followed. That would result in checks to qualified residents estimated around $3,000.