JUNEAU - A proposal that would consider permanent fund dividends a source of income for those receiving certain state financial assistance was voted down in the House State Affairs Committee today.
House Bill 340 by Sen. Randy Phillips, an Eagle River Republican, was defeated on a 4-3 vote with Reps. Peggy Wilson, Gary Stevens, Harry Crawford, and Joe Hayes voting no and Reps. John Coghill, Jeannette James and Hugh Fate voting yes.
Phillips' plan would have raised about $5 million to help cover a $37 million Medicaid gap, but opponents said the bill was an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.
Wilson, a Wrangell Republican, acknowledged that problems in the state budget need to be addressed but said she voted no on behalf of those in her district who would temporarily lose their welfare checks.
"This bill ... affects 66 people in my district, and it will mean that their checks will be cut off for a month or maybe two," Wilson said.