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Alaska Budget Moves To Senate; Passed House with $200 Million in Cuts

The state capitol building in Juneau in May 2003. Photo: Kenneth John Gill, Wikimedia Commons.

On Thursday, the Alaska House passed their version of the state budget, with $200 million in reductions. Though representatives didn’t adhere to Governor Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposals, they did make cuts to Medicaid, the School Bond Debt Reimbursement Program, and the state ferry service.

In a statement from the Majority, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said:

“We recognize that we have a deficit and must make substantial cuts… at the same time, this budget demonstrates our commitment to fund core services.”

House Bill 39, the operating budget bill, includes a cut of $13 million to the Department of Corrections, a $10 million cut from the University of Alaska system, and almost $50 million taken from the School Bond Debt Reimbursement Program, requiring local governments to fund a larger portion of school repairs.

Representative Neal Foster of Nome stated that no one got everything they asked for in this compromise, but ideas from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents were included in the final House version of the budget.

The Republican House Minority disagreed with the term “compromise,” saying that the Majority refused to hear all amendments to the budget, including one that would address the Permanent Fund Dividend.

The base student allocation, head start education, and the Village Public Safety Officer program are all fully funded in the House’s version of the budget. HB39 now goes to the Senate for consideration and possible changes.

Image at top: The state capitol building in Juneau. Photo: Kenneth John Gill, Wikimedia Commons.