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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- The City and Borough of Juneau announced Katie Koester as the new public works and engineering director on Monday. Former Director Mike Vigue retired earlier this month.
- According to the U.S. Postal Service, White Mountain has been without regular postal deliveries since late October, after the rural Alaska community's postmaster left her position.
- There’s no mine yet at the Palmer Project site. But a small cadre of scientists live there for half the year, looking for minerals.
- An Anchorage dentist is on trial for felony criminal counts of Medicaid fraud and reckless endangerment over — among other allegations — performing dentistry while on a hoverboard.