Alaska governor: State’s prosperity hinges on deficit fix

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is looking for a major win on an issue that has vexed him for much of his term: tackling the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit.

In prepared remarks for his State of the State address Thursday, Walker told lawmakers Alaska’s prosperity hinges on solving that problem.

Walker, an independent, isn’t likely to get a total fix this year.

But circumstances might force action on one issue on which there’s been general agreement.

That is, that some use of earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund will be needed to help cover government costs amid a continued slump in oil revenues.

Just how any money is drawn from permanent fund earnings and how that ultimately affects the annual dividend Alaska residents receive from the fund remains unclear.

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