Governor vetoes $202 million out of budget, keeps overall increase to 1%

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed the 2024 budget on Sunday, vetoing about $202 million in spending, which includes about $145 million in operating budget spending and $56 million in capital budget items for 2024, a fiscal year that begins July 1.

Since 2019, Dunleavy has kept the budget increases to about 1% per year, or a 4.5% increase overall since he has been governor.

When the governor proposed the budget, he asked for a full statutory Permanent Fund dividend for Alaskans, which would have been around $3,900. He didn’t get that from the Legislature, which cut the dividend by about two-thirds of what Alaska Statute calls for in the formula. The dividend is now set at about $1,300.000

The governor can’t add money back to the budget he received from the House and Senate just last week, he can only make cuts.

He cut about half of the additional spending for education that was put into the budget. The increase in education spending was $175 million, or about $680 per student. The veto is about $87 million, which leaves a per-student increase of about $340.

The vetoes resulted from a thorough evaluation and consistent application of the priorities of the Dunleavy Administration to grow savings and ensure fiscal stability, the governor’s office said.

“This budget is a responsible path for Alaska’s financial future,” said Dunleavy. “Budgets should reflect the values of Alaskans; the FY24 budget accomplishes that. We continue to invest in public safety, public education, and economic development. While this is a responsible budget for FY24, I look forward to working with lawmakers and Alaskans to establish a long-term, sustainable fiscal plan.”

From FY19 to FY24, there’s been an $81 million increase and 187 new positions in the Department of Public Safety.

Also in that timeframe, the state has seen a $75 million increase in support for the Department of Corrections, a 45% increase in criminal prosecution support, a $65 million increase to Department of Education, and a $194 million increase in the capital budget, which includes priority items like $5 million for marketing Alaska business.

The Dunleavy Administration’s fifth state budget highlights:

Public Safety

Protecting Alaskans has been Governor Dunleavy’s top public policy priority since taking office in December 2018. His public safety budget reflects his unwavering commitment to protecting all Alaskans from crime.

  • An operating budget UGF increase from FY23 of $26 million
  • 34 new positions total, 31 full-time permanent positions, and three new non-permanent positions
  • A capital budget of $13.5 million for 
  • Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) modernization
  • Fairbanks post remodel and expansion
  • Training academy maintenance and updates
  • Investigative and forensic electronic equipment
  • Patrol vessel and motor replacement
  • Classroom and offices in the Department of Public Safety Bethel Hangar. 

Public Education

  • Increased funding for the Alaska Reads Act
  • $87.4 million in additional K-12 funding outside of the formula.
  • An increase to the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program partnership of $5 million. 
  • $1.5 million for Career and Technical Education Incentive Grants
  • $1.5 million for Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Certification Support
  • $1.5 million for the Head Start Program to Provide Grantees with Additional Matching Funds
  • $19.6 million for School Major Maintenance

Economic Development

  • $5 million capital appropriation to Commerce for Statewide Marketing and Economic Development Initiative
  • $5 million one-time increment for Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
  • $2.5 million one-time increment for Tourism Marketing 

Veto list:

Click here for Office of Management and Budget FY24 budget documents.

In terms of capital budget items, the governor preserved the repair line item for the Palmer Library, which suffered a collapsed room last winter due to snow and ice.

25 COMMENTS

  1. So much for fighting for a bigger or full PFD like he ran on. What a freaking sham this guy is.

    • Hum.

      You do understand that “Governor” doesn’t mean “Dictator”, correct?

      Just like in life, you don’t always get what you want. Other folks have a say.

      Besides, for every responsible person who uses the PFD to get by and makes ends meet there’s also a deadbeat who doesn’t move his entitlement-sucking family out of Alaska back to wherever he came from because he loves his “free money.”

  2. Seems to me like all of the ‘additional’ dollars being expended on Education is a “COMPLETE WASTE” of dollars and effort. Until the the Department can ‘produce meaningful results’ the Department shouldn’t be rewarded with additional funding allocations.
    Cutting an only mere $200MM … seems like we could’ve cut more!!! It’s a good start but surely, there’s more waste and inefficiencies that we could’ve cut, commanding these State workers to do more with less.

  3. Well I’ll be…Didn’t think he had it in him. Congratulations.

    Now the question is, will it survive the inevitable attempt at a reverse sweep?

    • Do you mean veto override? The reverse sweep has to do with hanging onto of unspent monies at the end of the fiscal year.

  4. Smart move cutting the education funding in half. ASD should not receive any money at all until they educate themselves on whose children they are doing a piss poor job of the basics teaching reading writing and math. We are not getting our moneys worth as it is and they want to add nonsense to the curriculum.

    High school grads need to know how to use a tape measure and understand a basic blueprint. Just forget the social equality racial equity and apologies to the Indians for squatting on land as that is all the Indians are doing as well. If the Indians owned the land then we would be writing checks to them but the Muni is the landowner and sorry no apologies to them either.

    So pull your heads out of the silt and start performing or we as citizens choose an alternative education system. None of my grandchildren will ever see or hear the inside of a public indoctrination center. All the money collected and fed into ASD is wasted dollars!

  5. He should have cut the dept. Of Ed to zero increase and full dividends, until.they can beat Mississippi reading achievement. Zero to the tourism industry, let them spend their own, Alaska sells itself. What happend to their unspent funds? Why does the legislature feel it is fine to illegally tax every man, woman, children and the rest of the made up sexes dividends.

  6. Just to be clear, the “increases” in education were all vetoed,for example The Head Start Program and the CTE.
    It was a little unclear in the article.

  7. Only cutting half of the education funding increase is unacceptable. The failed education system of Alaska needs to be starved of capital until they start focusing on core curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic. ASD teachers and administrators focus on diversity, equality, separate bathrooms for trans, etc. Another article on MRA today shows Alaska is dead last in the nation for 3rd grade reading scores. Unreal. All we ever hear is that if we give them more money they will produce better educated students. History has shown this argument to be erroneous.

    • How and why do you equate increased spending with improved results?

      That’s a serious question you need to ask yourself and answer for yourself.

      It seems that Americans steadfastly hold that belief when it comes to publicly held moneys (i.e. invisible money that doesn’t directly come out of their own bank) but are usually more frugal and practical with their “own” money.

      Frankly, you can spend trillions on education but until you fix parents that system will always be broken.

  8. The Governor didn’t ignore Alaska state statute regarding PFD distribution, that’s entirely on the state legislature. He seems to be the only one trying to achieve his campaign promises? If the educational budget were performance-based, it would have rightfully experienced a reduction, rather than any increase? Show me a high school graduate who can balance a checkbook, or read a Comprehensive Annual Finance Report! (If they could, and did, CBJ Assembly would have a lot of explaining to do?) You “might” want to question standards when UAJ requires a remedial reading course before a JDHS Honor Student is admitted to UA?

  9. Inflation since January of 2019 to May 2023 is 21%. Budget increase over that same period was 4.5%. The Governor has effectively cut government spending by 16.5%. Thank you Governor!

  10. Forrest Dunbar was already tweeting about how bad it was to cut education. Alaska needs results before anymore raises in student funding. Cut out the equity propaganda and go back to whoever prepares best gets the best job. Race and color and sex are not important. Getting the best people is. Make that the new mantra for schools and students. Then Alaska can soar.

  11. Forrest Dunbar’s tweeting has nothing to do with the success or failure of the education system as he isnt qualified to regulate the mosquitos in Alaska. His tweeting is nothing more than a phony a$$ed signal to the education unions (teachers administrators school board maintenance)who are ALL union that if they vote for him He will make sure they get ALL the funding they want and MORE to spend on anything they wish for such as gold plated desk top ornaments and nameplates for their office doors. Which in turn the recipients of these golden goose awards will also get to travel out of state on many trips to union gatherings (s*it shows) and party it up on our taxpayers dollars. We just got our notices in the mail to pay. Another $9200 to the muni which half of it will go to the failed education system that ranks last in the nation for student learning but at least they rank near the top for the number of highly paid administrators per student ratio.

  12. ALL the funding they want! Ha! You just pulled a ‘Dufrain’

    We need to stand strong in MatSu and reject teachers union demands. Ice em’ out! It starts in the Valley…let’s show em’ how we won’t budge with education unions. Lay the foundation in MatSu.

  13. I am so thankful Dunleavy DID what he HAD TO to save Alaska. I know he has another uphill to fight when they will try to reinstate the $$ he cut out.

  14. Little Mike doing what he does best, shirking his responsibility for actually being fiscally responsible. He made cuts, big deal, but no where near what he should have done. All these twits spending like drunken sailors on shore leave should have their bills vetoed. Tired of waited for a governor with a spine.

  15. Hopefully Dunleavy is smart and DOESN’T call a special session to try to get a bigger dividend. He (we) won’t get it and it will open the door for the legislature to override his vetoes. The smart path is to take the partial win and try again next year.

  16. This BSA increase, even with the governors vetoes, is among the largest single increase ever. None of us respond well to threats and coercion and I doubt, even with the school administrators letters and threats, that there are enough members in the house to call a special session or to override the Governors vetoes.

    And if school districts have such huge financial problems, even with this large increase; and especially with the great amount(s) of Covid funding most districts still have in the bank; then perhaps it is emblematic of larger fiscal mismanagement?

    We should not be using “hope” as a fiscal strategy to run our districts.

    Again, this is not “education” funding. The BSA will not go directly to teachers and classrooms. It goes to the school districts. And money that goes to teachers and classrooms will have to be negotiated in their next CBA negotiations whenever that is. School districts and the NEA should be focused on the Governors HB106, which would provide money directly to our teachers.

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