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.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.