Gov. Dunleavy says he won't sign this flawed budget, as layoff notices go out to state workers - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, July 29, 2021
HomeTop NewsGov. Dunleavy says he won’t sign this flawed budget, as layoff notices go out to state workers

Gov. Dunleavy says he won’t sign this flawed budget, as layoff notices go out to state workers

Gov. Mike Dunleavy says that the budget, without an agreed-on effective date, is unacceptable because it means the government will shut down until September.

He said in a press conference he expects the Legislature to fix the problem by Friday night, the final day of special session, and he is ready to call them back into another special session that would start next Wednesday, if necessary.

On Thursday, the required layoff notices went out, because the Legislature was unable to agree on the effective date, which either must be changed, or is constitutionally mandated to go into effect after 90 days.

If the government shuts down, it would only be partially because the governor has a constitutional duty to keep public safety and health functions going. That means Troopers, guards, and public health nurses would continue to work.

Also, the airports will remain open because of a federal requirement to not impede interstate commerce. Even Alaska State ferries could come under that requirement. But things like permits and drivers’ licenses may not be available, as many functions of government would be put on pause.

Rep. Zack Fields, who voted for the budget and for an immediate effective date, as did all Democrats, said it’s the governor’s fault and that Dunleavy could ask the Republican minority to “rescind action and vote yes on the floor this week, and get the 2/3 vote. But he has not done that because he’s manufacturing a crisis to hold the whole state & economy hostage over the dividend.” He did not, surprisingly, say that the governor should just sign the budget and let it go into effect July 1.

It was the Republican House Minority, with the exception of Rep. Bart LeBon, that voted to block the effective date, as they are unhappy with the $525 Permanent Fund dividend, and also unhappy about the inappropriate use of the Constitutional Budget Reserve as the fund source for the dividend.

The governor has had several conversations with leaders of both the House and Senate, and likely advised them as to his plans before his 2:30 pm press conference.

When asked by a reporter what he thought was the reason the budget failed, Dunleavy said there are 60 different legislators representing different districts.

Left unsaid by the governor is that in the past, the “binding caucus” made it easier to get the budget passed, but with no binding caucus in the House or the Senate, there are 60 moving parts at any given moment on a budget, making the problem for legislative leaders that much more difficult.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Shut the government down!
    I guarantee you won’t miss it unless you need a drivers license or a medical examiner.

  • If these phony clown town miserable legislative failures don’t get their work done on time and the AMHS shuts down, I, for one, will incur thousands of dollars of costs, possibly many thousands.

    Yes, it’s personal. And I’m just one small person of the many. These jokers truly don’t get it. Their petty partisan squabbles effect the lives of real people who only need the damned trains to run relatively on time.

    Get your damned job done. And done now!

  • Go get em, gov. Show the 60 idiots who’s really in charge.

  • Perhaps the legislature should stop playing games and put forth a straightforward budget instead of using strong-armed tactics and three card monte like tricks. This isn’t a failed budget because of the effective date, it’s failed because it fails the people of this state!

    • Cry us a river here Steve-O. BooHoo!

  • Perhaps if Zack Fields would have done his job and produced a balanced budget and not be holding Mat-Su valley capital projects hostage and either followed the state statute for calculating the dividend (or else changed the law) the work might be completed. He should know that it does not work too well to try to strongarm the minority and then ask for their support in voting to use the CBR.

  • Incompetent is what this administration is known for

  • Now what Bryce?

  • @Jeff:
    Fields is too busy schusting with an important labor boss’s wife. There’s other work to be done.

  • Because of the lack of an agreed upon date? Not because they are robbing the citizens of Alaska?

    Standing small once again

  • The Permanent Fund has grown by $20 Billion over the last two years and the Liberals in the Alaska House of Representatives want to give us a $525 PFD… WTF!?!

  • If history is any indicator of the future the .gov will fold like a cheap suit.

    Face it kids. Our betters in the legislature have no regard for the populace….because the populace doesn’t vote.

  • We don’t need the dmv, just go to UMV much more efficient and faster. Let those who collected checks through the scamdemic feel what it was like for those who lost their jobs

  • Steve-O is correct, the legislature is either to political, unqualified, unethical or incompetent, to get the job done. Maybe we need to look into our voting system as other states are doing. Most expected to see a big republican majority but something happened. Democrats ran as republicans then joined the minority to make it the majority. They just can’t be trusted. Let’s fire them all.

  • “Lay-off notices?” Until government workers actually get laid-off without pay, and no possibility of retro-pay, I frankly prefer such patronizing speech not be uttered.

  • RE: the clip:
    Apparently the little princess thinks that those struggling with trying to catch up after the COVID shut down, are just greedy. “Let them eat cake.”.
    I hope she is shunned by her constituents and never holds an office again. She should be famous for this.

  • Good ! Shut this bloated, overweight government down. We don’t need it. We have more
    Government employees per capita than any other state. Governor Dunleavy is protecting the constituents -and we deserve all of our constitutional pfd. The legislators have been jerking us around for years with their special interests and their “reverse twirlers” and “backwards refinancing” -I heard LeBon, Von Imathief, and Wool were into “creative financing”. And by the way Natasha-throwing a temper tantrum doesn’t work well when you are a known spoiled brat-just saying -of course, this is just
    My opinion

  • Jeff is absolutely correct.

  • The legislators have fixed nothing. If they had listened to Dunleavy from the beginning, all of Alaska would have been better off than this.

  • The description of what a state government shutdown actually is sounds pretty good. It would be about as close to scaling back government to providing only essential services that any of us have ever seen. Government has vastly over expanded into areas of our lives where it doesn’t belong. Let’s eliminate all that and we won’t have a budget problem.

  • von Imhof is gonna be really inconvenienced people! COME-ON MAN !

  • As the late John Belushi once so eloguently articulated, “Food Fight!”

  • So, “Big Mike” isn’t going to sign the budget only because it doesn’t have an “effective date”, but says nothing about it not including a statutory PFD??
    .
    Another failure on Dunleavy’s part.
    I voted for him, but certainly won’t ever again. After getting elected, he obviously left his cojones safely at home as he went off to Juneau.
    We need a governor who does his/her job and refuses to sign any budgets that do not trim the fat from the bloated budget and includes a statutory PFD, especially as many people are hurting after so many were put out of work for months because of the now debunked hysteria over the China Virus, while all the state gubmint employees lost not a single cent of their income.
    I had high hopes for you, Mike, but you’ve turned out to be just another spineless failure…….

  • If your interpretation is that the gov manufactured a crisis then my interpretation is that you screwed the people of alaska out of what was lawfully due to them mandating an intervention. You’ve angered a lot of people, idiots.

  • Good. Let it shut down and hopefully we’ll all see how unimportant these people really are.

  • I’m no fan of the Governor, but that could change if he were to remain firm on this issue. Which, by the way, would also be in keeping with his campaign promises. Though a full PFD would be nice, the real issue is the legislature’s criminal failure to follow the law. Shut it down, governor. Shut it all down. It’s the only tool you have left against these criminals. And where is the Republican Party? You should be producing ads right now supporting the Gov and Republican law makers on this. You do have someone who understands political strategy, don’t you?

  • Is there a way we can get a ballot initiative that pays out the entirety of the PFD to every Alaskan? That’s over $100k per person. Hear me out for a second, inevitably the PFD is going to be abolished, that is the direction the legislature is heading. To counter it, have the whole thing paid out, via voter approval, and then future funds can balance the budget. I am not advocating for the PFD to go away, I’m saying this as a sort of “ha ha ha” to the dolts in the legislature who want all the money for themselves.

  • Now is the time to shine Governor….Veto the whole mess, call another special session and settle for nothing less than the full PFD as allowed by current law…

  • Tim
    Agree

  • It’s the Law to give us the statutory amount from the PFD
    What don’t they understand.
    Yes veto the whole bill until this happens

  • I don’t see how the Governor gets around the Constitutional necessity of an appropriation to authorize spending money. There is a bit of an argument for continuing the State airports because they run mostly on program receipts from landing fees, rents, etc. rather than general revenue. Likewise, the AMHS has some program receipt money from fares. Even those commonly have a legislative appropriation supporting the expenditure, but at least there is an argument.

    The pure general funds money departments are another question. The Departments of Public Safety and Corrections are almost entirely general funds and at 12:01 AM July 1 will have no money. API and the Pioneer Homes are a mix of program receipts, Medicare and Medicaid, various insurance and retirement plans, and general funds; hopefully someone has sharpened their pencil with an operating plan.

    We did some pretty comprehensive continuity of operations planning in anticipation of strikes back in the ’90s and I had them updated during my time as director, but last I heard they are tucked away gathering dust in archives and haven’t been updated in a decade or more. The State’s layoff schemes are very complex and if there is anybody left in State government that has ever prepared layoff lists, they were so junior at the time they were just following instructions. It is easier to just layoff everybody. When you start picking and choosing by job class and location it is enormously complicated and takes staff and time. If it hasn’t been done there is little time and in 12 days will be no staff. The governor may get cooperation from the Troopers and COs unions but can expect nothing more than sullen resistence and a drumbeat of strident criticism from the leftist lapdog media.

  • Budget is not a term that should be used for this incredible profusion of BS blowing of money in every direction but to the people.

  • Those here blaming our Tall Gov are ignorant. Shut down might be a good thing… especially if used to renegotiate CBAs – State workers are overpaid (at least many of them…) – if they want continued job security, there pay and benefits must be cut. Art Chance, this is where we need you to step up and Stand Tall. Blame must be squarely laid on the legislature d’rats and rinos, and on the courts for ruling the PFD is a State appropriation, not the people’s return on investment which it clearly is. Princess Natasha von Imathief, con artist, STEP DOWN – that shameful display of privilege and willful spoiled ignorance will only earn you approval with the leg wrestling after beer pong club… you’re toast.

  • Hold a special session here in the valley. Force them to come here.

  • Now that’s the governor I voted for!

  • He better not, and please grow a pair! We are sick of the unethical unqualified legislators.

  • Everyone who works in state government should dedicate 60 days of uncompensated employment to the state. These people never got laid off during the 15-months of Covid lay-offs that affected so many in the private sector. Let’s have some equity, all of you state government bureaucrats. Show that you really love your state by foregoing a state shutdown. Others paid the price and sacrificed. Now……do your part for the love of your state.

  • I do agree with Jeff, he is right!

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