Roughly 70 Alaskans testified against Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget cuts Friday night in Juneau. It was the first of the House Finance Committee’s budget road shows, but committee members didn’t go far — the discussion was held in the same Al Adams Committee Room in the Capitol where they usually meet.
After an 18-minute presentation on the budget, speaker after speaker opposed the plan. Retired teacher Lesley Lyman described the budget as sickening.
“I picture it kind of like a body,” Lyman said. “If you cut education, well, there go the brains. OK, and you cut the ferry system and the infrastructure, there go the legs. And you cut all of the other support systems, there go the hands and the ability to participate in our state.”
Colton Welch said the Legislature should pass a budget by the three-quarters majority required to override a line-item veto by Dunleavy. He compared the budget to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which happened 30 years ago Sunday, on March 24, 1989.
“Alaska history is watching all of you,” Welch said. “Do you want to be known as the captains who sailed Alaska into calm seas, or known as the ones who steered it directly into Bligh Reef?”
One person testified solely in favor of having full permanent fund dividends, as proposed by Dunleavy. And another testified in support of the additional prosecutors the governor proposed. But no one testified in favor of the range of budget cuts he’s proposed.
- Akiak lost a mile-long stretch of riverbank to erosion in May. Six houses are now within 100 feet of the river and need to be moved — and soon. But some residents don’t want to move.
- The CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership and a prominent Pebble opponent debated a key point of contention about the proposed mine: its size.
- Formerly known as the Willoughby District, the area will now be known as the Aak’w Village District, paying homage to its original residents.
- Former Alaska state Rep. Jason Grenn sponsored an ethics law last year that affects legislators' per diems. He called a recent vote on retroactive per diem payments "sad."