I’m writing to invite you to testify on Friday, March 4 to the House Finance Committee about the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget. You can call 907-563-9085 from 1:30-3:30pm or visit the Anchorage Legislative Information Office at 1500 W. Benson Blvd. to testify in person.
As you know, my primary goal with each year’s budget is fiscal sustainability and protection of core services for the long term. Once again this year, our caucus has put together a budget that honors the POMV spending cap to protect the Permanent Fund’s principal. At the same time, we have proposed an energy relief payment in addition to the PFD. With a steep increase in oil prices, we can afford this energy relief payment and protect the POMV and our Permanent Fund savings.
Our funding priority this year is for education, and the proposed budget will:
- Protect school funding from inflationary cuts
- Fund School Bond Debt Reimbursement (state match for locally-funded school capital improvements)
- Fund Pre-K
- Fund WWAMI to train doctors
- Refill the Higher Education Fund that the Governor and House minority drained by opposing the “reverse sweep.”
Our budget also reverses recent cuts in human services, making key investments in:
- Behavioral health services to provide treatment for addiction, mental health disorders, and improve public safety
- Expand training for Registered Nurses and capacity of Public Health Nurses
- Finally expand coverage of services to individuals on the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities waitlist, many of whom have been waiting years for crucial services
- Improve long term care services for seniors living with dementia and Alzheimers
- Update the “General Relief” funding level—General Relief is what social service providers use for ultra-time sensitive assistance of families at risk of becoming homeless
My family and I will be in Anchorage this weekend, and I anticipate having a constituent meeting on March 20 (details forthcoming), so perhaps I’ll get to see you in person soon.