The governor’s proposed budget is $13.9 billion for Fiscal Year 2025, which starts July 1. Based on forecasts of reduced oil prices and production, this creates a budget deficit of $987 million that will be covered by a draw from the Constitutional Budget Reserve and the Statutory Budget Reserve, he said today.
As he has every year, he proposes a full Permanent Fund dividend of about $3,400. He is proposing no new taxes, and although has not added to the school formula, has a one-time increase for education, something he has done every year.
One of the more interesting aspects for Dunleavy’s budget announcement are the interactive graphics his office prepared, so that Alaskans can go beyond the media and study the budget for themselves.
This is the first time in Alaska history the Governor’s Office has posted such exquisitely produced, easy-to-follow, and visual detail so people can delve right in without mainstream media interpreters.
Of the media interpreters, the Anchorage Daily News led by casting the budget darkly, saying that his spending plan has a $1 billion deficit and no new revenue sources, and that the governor blamed the federal government for the reduction in proceeds from resource extraction.
Anchorage School Superintendent Jharrett Bryantt posted an immediate response, expressing his deep disappointment in the education budget, which is a major portion of state spending. In addition to the statutory formula, Dunleavy added on millions for construction and maintenance, millions for reading programs, and millions for teacher recruitment, retention, career and technical education.
But as with last year’s budget, the proposed dividend is unlikely to pass the House and Senate in its current form. Since Gov. Walker cut the dividend in 2016, the Legislature has followed suit and cut it dramatically almost every year. It’s highly unlikely, therefore, that there will be a $3,400 dividend when the dust settled, presumably by the end of April or early May.
In terms of the full dividend, Dunleavy said the court ruled that the Legislature doesn’t have to follow the law, but the court didn’t say the Governor’s Office doesn’t have to follow the law, and so he is going with the statutory formula every time, using a conservative interpretation of what was decided by the Alaska Supreme Court.
Highlights from the Governor’s proposed budget include:
- – 10 additional Village Public Safety Officer positions and VPSO salary increases
- – Three new investigators at Alaska State Troopers focused on crimes against children
- – Four investigators at AST fully dedicated to investigating missing and murdered Indigenous persons
- – Acquisition of a single engine turbine-powered all weather aircraft (Pilatus PC-12NG) for statewide Public Safety operations
- – Replacement of a patrol vessel for Southeast Alaska to respond to emergencies, search and rescue operations, and enforce laws and regulations protecting coastal Alaska communities.
- – Statutory funding for school districts according to the Foundation Program, Pupil Transportation, and School Debt Reimbursement formulas in statute.
- – $8.3 million for school construction and major maintenance.
- – $5 million for the Alyeska Reading Academy and Institute.
- – $1.5 million for Teacher Recruitment, Retention, Certification and Apprenticeship Development.
- – $1.5 million for continued Career and Technical Education Initiative.
- – Funding for 30 permanent, full-time Eligibility Technician positions within the Department of Health to process SNAP applications.
- – $5 million to food banks and food pantries across Alaska to increase food security.
- – $25 million for Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Downpayment Assistance Grants primarily utilizing AHFC dividends.
- – $62.6 million for AHFC annual housing programs.
The Governor’s FY2025 proposed budget also includes investments in infrastructure and economic development providing both immediate and long-term benefits to Alaskans.
- – Matching funds for Alaska Marine Highway ferry replacement grants using Federal toll credits.
- – $2.5 million for Statewide PFAS Fleetwide Equipment Foam Replacement.
- – $915,000 for contracted urban snow removal when unexpected snowfall exceeds existing operational capacity.
- – $1.9 million and 10 positions to expand consumer protection investigations, address child protection cases, assist with drug prosecutions and assist with grand jury investigations.
- – $2 million to support continued statehood defense efforts across multiple agencies.