Rep. Chris Tuck

Rep. Chris Tuck
Chris Tuck

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February 15, 2019

The Budget Anvil Drops,

Breaking Gridlock in the House

Dear Neighbors,

The Governor’s budget finally came out yesterday. During the campaign, the Governor claimed he would only need to cut about $500 million, but since taking office, that number has inflated to $1.6 billion.

We all knew that much couldn’t be cut without seriously devastating state services, but details were withheld until now. State law recognizes the new governor has until the 30th legislative day to put out their new budget for the legislature to consider. Yesterday was that day.

With the budget finally disclosed, the pressure to organize in the House intensified. Today, the House elected Representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham to serve his second term as Speaker of the House.


Because this budget potentially threatens Alaskans’ livelihoods and futures, we need to take special care as we investigate the details and consider the possible repercussions to our economy. Here are some highlights:

  • K-12 education cut by 23% and previously approved forward-funding for FY21 (year after next) eliminated altogether;
  • School bond debt reimbursement completely zeroed out;
  • University of Alaska cut by 44%;
  • Power Cost Equalization fund ($1 billion) eliminated (this fund created enough money to pay for not only the PCE program, but also some community revenue sharing);
  • $30 million unallocated cut to Department of Corrections;
  • Pioneer Homes directed to increase rates to cover full cost of care;
  • $850 million cut from Department of Health & Social Services (more than half of which is federal funding), which means a 33% cut to Medicaid Services;
  • Alaska Marine Highways cut by 68.4% and encouraged to privatize;
  • 14% cut to the Alaska State Troopers, 22% cut to Village Public Safety Officers;
  • $30.5 million unallocated cut to Department of Corrections, even though transferring prisoners out of state is only expected to save $12.8 million;
  • Oil and gas tax credits are funded at $170 million, but from mysterious receipts of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority;
  • A lot of costs are shifted back to communities:
    • About $440 million in oil & gas property taxes withheld;
    • Raw Fish & Fish Landing Taxes withheld from communities; and
    • Community Revenue Sharing eliminated; and
  • Eliminated programs:
    • Parents As Teachers, Best Beginnings, Head Start, and Pre-Kindergarten Grants;
    • Alaska State Council on the Arts;
    • Online with Libraries (OWL) and Live Homework Help;
    • WWAMI Medical Education;
    • Public Broadcasting; and
    • Senior Benefits.

The Governor calls this “An Honest Budget” and says we will only loose about 650 full-time and 50 part-time or seasonal positions from state service. However, that doesn’t include all the troopers, village police, healthcare workers, and teachers that will be losing their jobs as departments struggle to absorb cuts. Not to mention all the private sector jobs that will be lost as a result.

If the Governor’s budget were to pass as is, I fear it would break Alaska. Already, we have many family and friends leaving our great state because there aren’t enough job and education opportunities. In his press conference, the Governor was asked if people should leave the state when they lose their jobs. I was saddened to hear him say, “That would be their choice.”

This is unacceptable. As leaders, we need to fight for budget priorities that support working families, grow our infrastructure and industries, and ensure Alaskans benefit from our resources.

I’m deeply concerned about Dunleavy’s budget and I look forward to partnering with all my colleagues to create a budget that provides job security, accessible health care, safer communities, and an education system that provides future opportunities for our children.

I’m here for you, so please keep in touch on matters important to you and your family!

Warm regards,

[signed] Chris Tuck
      Chris Tuck
      Alaska State Representative
      District 23 - Anchorage

Tuck’s Tips:

Know someone who deserves recognition for their volunteerism? First Lady Rose Dunleavy is seeking nominations for First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards.  Applications are due March 8.

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