Tuesday I voted to pass a $4.45 billion operating budget that flat funds Medicaid, Public Assistance, and Pioneer Homes. It invests in new state troopers, VPSOs, prosecutors, courts and the Marine Highway. We have made tough decisions and put continued downward pressure on the budget. Since FY2013, Alaska's budget has been reduced by $3.5 billion or 44%, but there are no more big cuts to be found as evidenced by the huge supplemental budget request made by Governor Dunleavy.
This operating budget is far from perfect, and frankly leaves much to be desired. It doesn't adequately fund education, the University, public safety, public health, and addiction treatment. If we are going to have a budget that adequately funds these needs, we will have to face the elephant in the room: our revenues have dramatically dropped since the passage of SB 21 in 2014. If we don't find additional revenue--and soon--we will see continued cuts to essential government services.