Lawmakers cut the ferry budget by $43.6 million dollars rather than risk losing it altogether.
The ferry union strike might be over, but some Petersburg ferry workers are still concerned about the state cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway System and other services.
More than 750 protesters packed the street in front of the Alaska Capitol on Monday, calling for the state Legislature to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes.
Alaskan farmers say the state gets a big bang for the small buck it provides to agriculture. That’s why they say big cuts like those proposed by Governor Mike Dunleavy would inflict serious, long-term harm to the industry.
Typically, the governor is required to release a budget by mid-December, and the Legislative Finance Division has about a month to get through it before lawmakers come into session. But that didn’t happen this year.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has said Alaskans should receive permanent fund dividends of roughly $3,000 this year. But it won’t be easy for state lawmakers to agree on the dividend’s size.
The Dunleavy administration’s budget doesn’t include funding to pay back residents for the reductions in permanent fund dividends from the last three years.
In his State of the University address Tuesday, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen stressed the need for an increase in state funding after four years of cuts. Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed budget would flat fund the university at $317 million.
Fiscal experts maintain some optimism that lawmakers will still be able to bridge the divide.
The Republican House caucus is pushing to cut the state government budget. But they no longer hold the majority. Instead of shrinking, the House version of the budget has actually grown.