Walker signs Alaska state budget day before it starts

Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, speaks at a press availability shortly after calling the Alaska Legislature into the second special session of the year, June 16, 2017. Walker limited the session to one topic, the operating budget. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, speaks at a press availability shortly after calling the Alaska Legislature into the second special session of the year earlier this month. Walker signed the operating budget on Friday. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker signed the state operating budget Friday without vetoing any of it.

The portion of the budget directly controlled by the Legislature includes $4.9 billion.

The budget includes $760 million for Permanent Fund dividends, which will be $1,100. The budget decreases funding for government agencies by $145.7 million. It increases funding for state retirement payments and debt service.

Walker thanked the Legislature for avoiding a government shutdown.

But he said the job is not complete.

The budget closed a $2.5 billion gap between what the government spends and what it gets in taxes, fees and oil royalties. It used state savings from the Constitutional Budget Reserve to close the gap.

There isn’t enough money in this reserve to cover a similar gap in next year’s budget.

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