Budget Whiplash: Cut, then funded, then vetoed, then funded again, and now vetoed again…

I’m calling this the Budget Whiplash Edition. So many important items in our state operating budget have been proposed to be cut, then funded by the legislature, then vetoed by the Governor, then re-funded by the legislature, only to be vetoed again. Who can keep up? This is no way to run a state. It’s not ok that the budget is being signed in late August, again with major implications and lasting changes for Alaskans. While it’s not all bad news, there are reasons to be concerned.

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Yes we can have jobs and a large PFD

I never would have expected so many people would come up to me and complain about the PFD over the last year. I get it: Since the Governor is burning down our state for $600 additional dollars in a PFD, many Alaskans have turned against the PFD itself. But the reality is we can have both a healthy economy AND a large PFD…provided we generate reasonable revenue.

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Working Together in Difficult Times

Vetoes, Pioneer Homes Rate Increases, and the Loss of A Colleague
On Tuesday, after having taken significant actions last week, the legislature adjourned the second special session of 2019. Just yesterday, with the ball in his court, the governor acted, vetoing nearly $35 million in projects and programs from the capital budget. Along with the Pioneer Home rate increases approved by the administration this week, and the great loss of Senator Birch, it was a week for contemplation and decisions on how to move forward.

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Rep. Matt Claman’s Alaska Matters: Governor Makes Vetoes to Capital Budget

On Tuesday, August 6 at 11:59 PM, the second special session ended after the legislature voted to restore essential programs and services. On Thursday, August 8, Governor Dunleavy signed the capital budget, Senate Bill 2002, into law. But the governor included more than $30 million in line item vetoes to SB 2002, including cuts to homeless services, drug treatment, and public safety.

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Rep. Tuck’s Community Connection: Mourning a Great Lawmaker and Citizen

We lost a great Alaskan Wednesday with the passing of Senator Chris Birch. Chris and I were colleagues in the Alaska House of Representatives before he moved over to the Senate. Senator Birch will be remembered as a forceful advocate for his constituents and a man of principle. I will remember Chris for his sense of humor as we faced stressful political times. As Alaskans, we should grieve the loss of Senator Birch while cherishing his work and memory.

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Action item: Ask the Governor to sign HB 2001 and Saturday coffee

The legislature passed HB 2001 restoring funding for about 80% of budget items Governor Dunleavy vetoed. This bill seeks to find compromise with the Governor by accepting $94 million in cuts to the operating budget while restoring the majority of the University funding, homeless and domestic violence programs, Alaska State Council on the Arts, pre-K programs, and more.

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Special Session Update

I wanted to take this opportunity to share an update on the work accomplished recently in the Legislature. Over the past couple of months, our entire state has been evaluating the impacts of the Governor’s vetoes and considering what we want our future to look like. I could not be more grateful to the thousands of Alaskans who took the time to reach out and share their concerns and ideas. Your input illustrated the kind of investment that our community has in ensuring that neighbors are cared for and our next generation is provided with opportunities.

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