Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s austerity budget isn’t going over smoothly — even among members of his own party. Now, he’s taking his fiscal plan on the road with stops in communities from Nome to Fairbanks to Kenai. Members of the State House Finance Committee held their own dueling meetings.
As Alaskans got up close and personal with their elected representatives — what’s the message? On this episode of Paying Dividends, Alaskans weigh-in.
We hear reporters from Juneau to Bethel, in Southwest Alaska, where Gov. Mike Dunleavy and members of the legislature landed in the last week. They were taking feedback on the budget, PFDs, the state’s constitution and, really, whatever else was on people’s minds.
The reception they got was, in a word, mixed. There were protests at nearly every stop on the Governor’s tour. In Fairbanks, nearly 400 protesters showed up. In Nome, a woman was detained by police.
The Governor and lawmakers heard from people who didn’t want to see their dividends cut, but they also heard hours of testimony from people who opposed dramatic state budget cuts to things like education and ferries.
Rashah McChesney talks to KTOO and Alaska Public Media’s Andrew Kitchenman in Juneau, KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran in Kenai, KYUK’s Krysti Shallenberger in Bethel and KNOM’s Emily Hofstadter in Nome.
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
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- While an Alaska Department of Corrections works through a plan to move inmates out of state, the increase in the state's prison population is already having impacts at Juneau’s correctional facility.
- Coeur Alaska projects it’ll be out of room for waste rock in 2022. And its tailings facility will be at capacity by 2024.
- Other notable elements of the Alaska Federation of Natives convention included talk about missing and murdered indigenous women, rural public safety issues, and the keynote speech by Iditarod winner Pete Kaiser
- A few dozen protesters rose from their seats at the Fairbanks auditorium, turned their backs on the governor and held up their fists to protest.