Sunday, September 24, 2023
HomeAnchorage Daily PlanetAn important question

An important question


As with almost anything of importance in Alaska, the question of whether it is constitutional for the Legislature to forward-fund K-12 education appears headed to court.

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At its core is this: Can a Legislature appropriate money this year – money it does not have – to fund education for next year? The Legislature did just that last year when it set aside $1.7 billion in funding for education.

Does that bind Gov. Mike Dunleavy this year? Does it bind future lawmakers and future governors to decisions they had nothing to do with?

The House and Senate believe they can forward-fund; the governor, not so much. He says it is unconstitutional. The chambers have authorized the Legislative Council to sue him to resolve the issue.

Dunleavy has suggested lawmakers repeal the $1.7 billion in forward-funding and include education money in this year’s budget, which remains unapproved. Lawmakers have refused to do that.

Read this op-ed at Anchorage Daily Planet.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. No, forword funding would require escrowing the funds at the minimum.

    This is controlling a the future elected public servants for how and what are the real life real time issues that they the elected NEED to deal with.

    Life happens and so do natural disasters, and economic changes that can be volatile. Forward nonbinding AND mandated spending is clearly BINDING future legislators.

    Those supporting it are unfit for office.

  2. What if a lawmaker voted on forward funding then got recalled and was replaced in the year the funding was normally voted on by a member opposed to forward funding? Or the constituency realized the funding was a bad idea. Wouldn’t that be taxation without representation? Like saddling future taxpayers with debt that they weren’t even born when it was incurred? Kinda like printing i.o.u.’s.

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