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Rep. Adam Wool's 
Update: Operating and Capital budgets signed




Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans, 

Governor Strikes Deal with University over Budget: My Thoughts 

Today, the Governor signed the operating budget (HB2001)  which restored $110 million of vetoed funding back to the University. Other cuts that were reversed include the Alaska State Council on the Arts, senior benefits, community services grants (homelessness assistance), early learning, Alaska Legal Services, Online with Libraries, and agricultural programs. I'm glad to see these cuts restored. However, the Gov did keep cuts that I do not agree with to: Alaska Public Broadcasting, Ocean Rangers, Medicaid, VPSO program, Civil Air Patrol, and the Alaska Marine Highway System. 
Last Tuesday, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen signed a three-year de-funding plan alongside Board of Regents Chair John Davies and Governor Dunleavy. This non-legally binding, handshake deal would create a "glide path" for the University to scale back operations by $70 million over the course of the next three years, starting with $25 million decrements each year for the next two years. This is a step back from the $135 million cut initially proposed by the Governor. 

While I am glad to see that the Governor is willing to avoid a $135 million cut, I still believe that these cuts are unnecessary and will hurt the University system and the Fairbanks community. The Legislature is the appropriating body for funding, and we have worked hard to operate all branches of government more efficiently. We have cut from the University four of the past five years, and I believe that we are reaching the point where we have cut enough. The University is an economic and cultural driver in our state, and additional cuts to the University will damage the State as a whole. Only time will tell how this new multi-year deal will proceed, or how it will be received by the Legislature as a whole. I will continue to fight for University funding. This non-binding deal does not hamper the Legislature from restoring University funding in future years. 


Headed out to go fishing with my daughters Evelyn and Abby. We had a great time! 


New budget information

Thank you to the many individuals who have reached out to my office to offer your opinions regarding the operating and capital budgets that the legislature came together to pass. I came to Juneau for this past special session hopeful that my colleagues and I would cast a vote to oppose the Governor's extreme cuts, especially to needed health and social service programs, senior benefits, transportation, and most of all the University of Alaska. While we failed to override the initial vetoes put forth by the Governor, in part due to the fact that not even 40 legislators showed up for a vote that would’ve required 45 votes to override, your great effort to speak out has been an important part of the Legislature reconsidering their stance, and ultimately in countering the Governor's cuts and providing for a reasonable PFD amount for this year in the form of HB 2001 and SB 2002.  The Governor obviously wasn’t deaf to this public outcry and he wisely backed off his veto threats and largely passed our bills but some cuts remained. He also left in place a PFD of $1600 in HB2001. This is a reasonable amount and the same amount that we passed last year. We still need a new, sustainable formula for the PFD and hopefully we will get to it soon, perhaps before next regular session in January.
The Governor also vetoed important items from the capital budget that was passed in SB 2002. His vetoes included cutting funding to the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (-$750,000), the Statewide Earthquake Monitoring array purchase from the Feds (-$2.5 million), weatherization and energy programs (-$5 million), UA deferred maintenance costs (-$2.5 million), and homeless assistance funding (-$3.6 million), among other things. These cuts would harm our community of Fairbanks, and would have impacts across the State.  Hopefully we’ll have a chance to remedy some of these cuts but not sure when that can happen. I’m especially unhappy about the Cold Climate Housing Research Center cuts; CCHRC has done great work for many years and needs to be continued. Also, the Earthquake Monitors is another item that shouldn’t have been cut. They were a great deal at a great time, hopefully we can revisit that item soon as well.

Over the past several months, it has been very reassuring to get so many emails, phone calls, and testimonies from concerned and engaged citizens such as yourself that care so much about our State and are urging us to do the right thing. I plan to carry that forward with me as we head into future sessions and debate.



Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) staff outside of the research center. The Gov cut CCHRC's entire appropriation of $750,000 from the capital budget. For 20 years, CCHRC's work on housing has reached Alaskans across the state, and their work needs to be continued. 


Looking at the US Array map with Alaska Seismologist Mike West and UA representative Weston Eiler. The Governor cut funding for the US array in the capital budget. This funding would have allowed the University to purchase seismic stations from NSF which are already in place at various locations around the state. Not only do they provide seismic data to make improve earthquake response, they logged weather and other data at those sites. 


Enjoying the end of the summer by spending time with family on a fishing excursion in Valdez. 


Saying Goodbye to a Statesman: The Passing of Senator Chris Birch 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of Chris Birch. He will be missed in the legislature and in all of Alaska, as his life touched many people.

I didn’t know Chris a long time but I enjoyed working with him. We served on several committees and he helped me on legislation, including my Uber bill. 

He often told me how when he lived in Fairbanks he’d get his kids to ride from their house on Farmers Loop to Hot Licks for ice cream. Then of course they’d have to ride back home but it was worth it. 

The last bill we passed out of Labor and Commerce last session was Chris’ telecommunications bill, which later became law. 

I’ll miss you Chris. Thanks for your work in the Legislature and throughout your life. 



Upcoming Community Event: Sandhill Crane Festival 

Coming up this weekend from August 23-25 is the annual Sandhill Crane Festival at Creamer's Field. This year's festival features guest speaker Gary Ivey, who has worked with cranes for 35 years and will be discussing their flight patterns. You can find out more about this event on the Creamer's Field website and at this link: https://www.explorefairbanks.com/event/tanana-valley-sandhill-crane-festival/535/



Contact me with your questions, concerns, and ideas. You can always reach me at rep.adam.wool@akleg.gov and at 907-452-6084. We are back in Fairbanks for the interim, so feel free to stop by the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office or call to make an appointment with my staff. 



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