State remains on track to avoid shutdown while other legislative work continues
JUNEAU – The Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday adjourned sine die, formally ending this year’s first special session.
During the special session, the Legislature passed a responsible operating budget that cuts spending to the lowest level in 15 years while also keeping the State of Alaska on track to avoid a damaging shutdown when the new fiscal year begins July 1. If the governor accepts the operating budget, Alaskans will have certainty that the essential services they rely on will continue uninterrupted.
The Legislature also passed House Bill 49 this year, legislation that will make Alaska safe by getting tougher on crime and giving police officers, prosecutors, and public defenders resources they need to succeed.
The House Majority also passed a capital budget that would bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars into the state at the height of the summer construction season, while also investing $10 million to establish new substance abuse treatment beds and paying to implement HB 49. However, the House Minority refused to fund the capital budget, a move that hamstrings the private sector.
With the capital budget and the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend unresolved, House Speaker Bryce Edgmon committed that the House Majority will continue working until both of these matters are finalized, and he released the following statement:
“Alaskans hold passionate views not only about the future of the Permanent Fund and the amount of this year’s Dividend, but also about investing in K-12 schools and the university system, looking after elders who live in Pioneer Homes, and protecting the many other services that underpin our economy and weave the social fabric of our communities.
While there is no immediate consensus on the PFD in the Legislature, we fulfilled the most pressing concern by passing a responsible operating budget that keeps the State of Alaska on track to continue providing essential services when the new fiscal year begins in July.
We remain committed to working with the Senate and the administration to find solutions to the immediate and long-term questions surrounding the Permanent Fund and the Dividend program, and to fund a capital budget that empowers the private sector to reach its full potential during the summer construction season.”
– House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham)
Communications Director, Alaska House Majority